How to Prevent Cargo Theft


You check into a motel for the evening for a break from sleeping in your truck. The next morning, you wake up to find your truck is gone. At this point, the merchandise has probably already been offloaded and is well on its way to the black market. Stories like this occur every day in the United States. In fact, in the third quarter alone, there were 185 cases of cargo theft. That’s a lot, considering this is far from a petty crime. Fortunately, you can prevent becoming part of that statistic. Here’s how.

Practice the Fundamentals Keep all doors locked at all times. Use king pin locks, as well, when your trailer is parked. Roll your windows up when you’re not in the truck or if you’re not in a busy area.

Don’t Discuss Your Load Never discuss your load or its destination with strangers. Don’t mention specifics on the CB or Internet, either.

Stay Visible Always park your truck in a well-lit and traveled area. Ideally, park within view of security cameras or personnel. Also, never be the last one around in a rest area. And stay on major roadways as much as possible. The idea is to ensure someone is around at all times to deter crime.

Lose the Tail Cargo thieves often tail their target for hours. With this in mind, be on the lookout for anyone that appears to be following you. If you suspect you’re being tailed, slow down and change lanes. Chances are the vehicle will pass if it is not following you. Try getting off at the next exit (assuming you’re in a well-traveled area) if that doesn’t work. At this point, it’s a good idea to get its license plate number in case you need to call the police. Then, park your truck in a safe area. If that vehicle is still around, you’re probably being followed. Contact the local police if it gets to this point.

Leave Yourself an Out Leave enough distance between your truck and the vehicle in front to maneuver if something goes wrong. Thieves have been known to hijack trucks at stop lights.

Back it Up When possible, back your trailer up to a fence or wall. Doing so will make it very difficult for thieves to access it.

Keep Strangers Out of the Cab This should seem obvious, but strangers should never be permitted in your cab. While you’re at it, keep your doors locked if someone flags you down. This person may legitimately need help, and that’s what you can give him…by calling for assistance from your locked cab.

Know what Criminals Want While any truckload is fair game, criminals probably won’t bother you if you’re hauling toothpicks. However, there are several products they typically favor. These include:

  • Alcohol
  • Electronics
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Precious metals
  • Tobacco

If you’re hauling any of these, be extra careful to secure your load and yourself for that matter.

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