Food and beverage, tractors, and California highly targeted in 2016 cargo theft events

In 2016, there were 836 cargo theft incidents recorded by CargoNet, the industry leader in cargo theft prevention and recovery efforts.  In the United States and Canada, $114 million in stolen freight was reported.  While the number of incidents recorded were down from 906 cases in 2015, the total loss value was up from the previous year’s $100.5 million.

2016 cargo theft trends


Tractor and trailer thefts increased by 8% and 4% respectively.  While trailers are commonly stolen as a means to easily relocate the freight that they’re transporting, tractors were often targeted as a commodity in themselves.  Throughout the year there were numerous cases of tractors being hijacked without attached trailers.  In 2016, 623 tractors and 732 trailers were stolen while in transit.

The three most targeted states were California, Texas, and New Jersey.  With 228 incidents, California reports were up 36% year-to-year.  Texas was only up 1%, with 135 incidents, and New Jersey was actually down 25% year-to-year, with 73 occurrences.

While Georgia was 2015’s third most targeted state, 2016 cargo theft was down an astonishing 64%, due to the state’s Cargo Theft Act, which imposed more severe penalties and fines based on freight type and value.

Food and beverage was the most stolen commodity of 2016 with 217 thefts.  Beverages, both alcoholic and non, along with meat products, were most valued by thieves.  Overall, food and beverage hijackings were down by 47, from 2015’s 264 recorded events.

Electronics were the second most sought out commodity with 122 incidents reported, the same amount as 2015.  While the total number of events were equivalent, the cost of goods stolen was up over ten million dollars.  At $46.6 million in total value loss, electronic freight was the most expensive commodity for thieves to target.

Friday and Saturday continue to be the most common days for thieves to steal cargo.


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