cargo truck unloading boxes at a warehouse

8 Tips to Prevent Holiday Cargo Theft

When the weather cools down, holiday crime heats up. In the last quarter of the year, discretionary retailers make 40% of their total yearly revenue. That means plenty of packages on porches, in mailboxes, under Christmas trees, in transit, and in warehouses … just waiting for thieves to strike. This winter, don’t let thieves be the Grinch to your holiday cheer. Follow these tips to stay ahead of holiday crime and keep your presents (and profits) where they are supposed to be — under the Christmas tree.

Cargo theft remains a major crime during the holidays

All those trucks transporting goods for holiday shoppers look like rolling bullseyes to thieves. Theft and fraud incidents reported to CargoNet were up 40% in the first two weeks of December year-over-year in 2022. In fact, the average cargo theft between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2 is worth $116,030. – CargoNet 

During the holidays, thieves are especially active because they know their ability to re-sell items increases during this time. Top targets for thieves during the holidays include:

• TVs
• Computers
• Food and beverage
• Appliances

“27% of all stolen cargo around the holidays is from food and beverage freights.”

Some Simple Steps you can take to protect your business

The more barriers you can put between your inventory and thieves who want to steal it, the better off you’ll be. Use the following steps in tandem to decrease your chances of being a victim of commercial theft during the holidays.

1. Secure your trucks 
According to CargoNet, most stolen vehicles and shipments are taken from unattended vehicles parked at retail parking lots and truck stops. If possible, always instruct your drivers to park in well-lighted, secure parking areas and stay with their vehicles. 

2. Install cameras
Security cameras do double duty when it comes to protecting your lot, inventory and trucks. They act as a psychological deterrent, notifying potential thieves that their actions will be “seen” if they cross onto your property. Also, cameras can help the police catch thieves and potentially recover your stolen property if a theft does occur.

3. Install a perimeter security system
Thieves that can’t get onto your property can’t steal what’s there. A multi-layered perimeter security system can keep thieves where they belong – which is outside your property.

A good multi-layered perimeter security system will offer multiple types of stopping power, such as:

4. Add lighting to your property 
Whether you own a commercial warehouse, truck lot, or manufacturing facility, adding extra lighting to your property takes away thieves’ favorite weapon – the cover of darkness. 

“Research shows that 3 out of 4 commercial burglaries are committed at properties without adequate security lighting.”

Lighting can be added to your property in various ways to prevent holiday crime including portable lighting that can be moved easily as needed, continuous lighting that stays on from dusk to dawn, and standby lighting that is triggered by motion such as someone trying to breach a gate or fence.

5. Plan routes for cargo
Route planning allows you to choose the safest routes for your cargo and drivers before they leave your location. Drivers should avoid high-crime areas, park only in secure areas, and have a minimum of 200 miles worth of fuel before leaving the origination point to avoid extra stops. Thieves who may be tailing expensive cargo shipments aren’t likely to want to wait 200 miles, and will give up to go after an easier target.

6. Train your staff and drivers
Let your staff and drivers know that crime during the holidays skyrockets, and instruct them to be extra diligent when locking up at night or transporting cargo. Train your drivers and staff on proper procedures for securing loads, setting the alarm system, proper driving for safety procedures, etc.

7. Take steps to prevent internal theft during the holidays
A Jack L. Hayes International Annual Theft Survey revealed that more than 340 million shoplifters and employees were arrested for stealing over the holiday season in 2022. Internal theft is a huge problem for businesses in all sectors, and that problem only intensifies during the holidays. There are several ways you can prevent internal theft during the holidays, which you can see here.

8. Consider eliminating non-essential entry points
The more ways into your business or property, the more ways thieves can sneak in if a door or gate is left open or unlocked. If you have entry points to your business or lot that don’t get much use, consider eliminating them.

Have peace of mind knowing that your business is protected this holiday
Knowing that your inventory and cargo are safe from thieves can help you enjoy the holiday season without worrying that a holiday theft could derail your end-of-year plans.

Want to know if your site is at risk?
Schedule your complimentary Threat Assessment today. One of our security experts will:

  • Assess your property
  • Examine your current security system
  • Expose hidden vulnerabilities
  • Develop a plan to keep your job site safe

Mark Wesley