Organized Crime is Targeting Cargo: Are You Prepared?

Organized Crime Has Cargo on Their Radar – Is Your Business Ready?

When we think of organized crime rings, some might think of gangsters like Al Capone or Michael Corleone. The truth is, organized crime syndicates are in every country in the world – and they’re targeting commercial businesses like yours, especially the trucking industry and the cargo your semis carry.  

Cargo Theft is an Offer Organized Crime Rings Can’t Refuse  

Cargo theft was up 46% in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023, and it was up 10% from the previous quarter, according to CargoNet.  

During Q1 2024, there were:  

  • 925 reported incidents of cargo theft  
  • Totaling $76 million in value  
  • Each theft averaged $281,757 

With these kinds of numbers, it’s clear that this is no longer the average one or two-person theft operation of yesteryear – this is the result of organized crime. Theft rings are more coordinated and more technologically advanced than ever before, and with inflation running wild, they’re making bigger profits than ever from the black market, too.  

How Organized Theft Rings Work 

The movies get some things right. These crime rings are highly structured, hierarchical networks with bosses, middle managers, and front-line criminals who do the dirty work. Positions in a theft ring include scouts who specialize in finding crime targets, planners, lookouts, burglars, drivers, and fencers who sell the goods that are stolen.  

Whether or not they say “This is a friend of mine” is up for debate, but the impressive organization and communication that goes on in organized crime units is very real. With the help of modern technology, it’s better than any generation of criminals in history. 

Trucking and Cargo are at the Greatest Risk  

According to CargoNet’s VP of Operations, Keith Lewis, theft of cargo from large trucks is on the rise, oddly enough, because of improvements in the supply chain. Modernization and automation of the supply chain roadmap have led to fewer touches along the transportation route. Fewer touches mean fewer employees and lower payroll for companies, but it also means less oversight and limited points of verification. Organized crime rings are exploiting this. 

“What the bad guys have figured out is, the faster we move things, the less vetting we do, and the faster they can steal things. And that’s what’s going on right now. It’s hitting us like lightning. There’s really no end to this,” he said in an article from CCJ Digital. 

Trailers left unattended in lots are a hot target for thieves. Leaving a truck in a truck stop parking lot for long enough to step in for a bathroom break is all it takes to lose thousands of dollars in cargo, especially if an organized crime ring is following a high-value truck, waiting for a chance to strike. CargoNet also reports that the biggest hotspots for such crime are Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, Southern California, New York, New Jersey, and Eastern Pennsylvania.  

In Southern California, police recently recovered $1.4 million in stolen merchandise from a cargo theft ring that had been terrorizing California shippers. More than 160 pallets of items, from food products to industrial-grade tools, were recovered. 

Being a Victim of Organized Crime Costs More Than Money 

When your business becomes the victim of organized crime, you lose more than your inventory. Crime at your business causes a ripple effect that affects far more than just the department that was hit and the items that were stolen. After a break-in, you can expect to experience:  

  • Downtime – Waiting for replacement inventory; repairs to broken equipment, doors, and windows; your insurance company and the police to conduct their investigations will disrupt regular operations and negatively affect productivity. Additionally, the inability to carry out regular business during this period can lead to potential loss of profits while waiting for repairs. 
  • Reputational damage – Customers don’t like to deal with businesses that miss deadlines because of crime or where their own cars, trucks, shipments, or inventory will not be safe.  
  • Commercial property insurance premium increases – A single claim can raise your commercial insurance rates by as much as 20%!  

How Would Your Business Get Back on Track After a Break-in?  

The fallout of a break-in can throw your business into a tailspin. Downtime, reputational damage, and increased insurance premiums are just a few of the challenges you’ll face. Don’t let organized crime disrupt your business or success. Download AMAROK’s 5 Point Plan for Dealing With Commercial Property Theft to learn the best strategies for responding effectively and getting your operations back on track quickly. Protect your business and ensure a swift recovery.