LP Magazine

JAN-FEB 2019

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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BUMPS IN THE ROAD 43 LP MAGAZINE | JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2019 goods." Devices for monitoring both location and cargo parameter resulted in lowering costs by an average of 53 percent. Using a system to monitor location only cut costs up to 31 percent. "These results showed that using those systems could bring great benefits," the study concluded. Overall, Pelli says that trends in cargo theft remain fairly consistent. With a few fluctuations, thieves are primarily hitting the same products and in the same states as in recent years. "These are certain areas around major transportation nodes where you have very active cargo-theft gangs," explained Pelli. Southern California is one such hotbed, where retail consumer goods arrive from Asia through the Port of Long Beach and then move into Riverside County. "So you'll see gangs operating there, targeting trucks in those areas and hitting warehouses." Occasionally there will be a crack down in a specific geographic area that disrupts cargo-theft operations. "So crime may decline for a time in that area, but then after a while, it comes back." The Chicago area recently rode that wave, according to Steve Covey, special agent at the National Insurance Crime Bureau and former head of the Midwest Cargo Theft Unit for the Illinois State Police. After a several months lull at the end of 2017, cargo thieves became very active in early 2018, with more than a dozen thefts, all more than $100,000. "Cargo theft is still pretty rampant," warned Covey. And while cargo-theft data overall seems to suggest that shipments are growing safer, experts insist that loss prevention practitioners need to stay consistently engaged as obstacles and opportunities cause cargo thieves to shift tactics. Cargo thieves are opportunists, explained Sergeant Peter Lee, in the California Highway Patrol Southern Division's Cargo Theft Interdiction Program. "[They] will scout possible locations for easy opportunities, whether unsecured load on docks to distribution facilities with limited to no security. Other thefts may involve use of fictitious documents to steal cargo from facilities with untrained security." SensiGuard's yearly report similarly noted that the decline in reported cargo theft doesn't mean thieves are backing off—just that they're refining operations and honing in on soft spots in the supply chain and on shipments they know can be easily fenced. That is one reason for the rise in mixed-retail-load thefts—shipments that are typically a mix of product destined for a brick-and-mortar store. "Diligent and organized thieves can still utilize their criminal network to identify the contents of these loads, which if they contain desired products, typically have less security measures in place than a dedicated trailer of one high-value/targeted product," warned Sensiguard analysts. This trend is also evident in the rise of large pilferage events, according to Sensiguard. "Thieves have learned that valuable intelligence can be gathered while obtaining high-value merchandise by penetrating a trailer, stealing some of the product, and then drawing back to see what—if any—response occurs." Pelli has also noticed cargo thieves becoming more strategic, including using information found online to create false identification and set up bogus trucking companies, or to steal the identity of a legitimate trucking company and book loads and shipments under the company's name. To an unwitting distribution center, the pick-up seems completely legitimate. US Cargo Theft by Product Type, Q3 2018 Source: Sensiguard Supply Chain Intelligence Center, Nov 2018 ■ Electronics 20% ■ Home & Garden 15% ■ Food & Drinks 13% ■ Miscellaneous 11% ■ Metals 9% ■ Building & Industrial 9% ■ Alcohol 8% ■ Clothing & Shoes 5% ■ Personal Care 5% ■ Tobacco 2% ■ Auto & Parts 2% ■ Pharmaceuticals 1% 1% 2% 2% 5% 5% 8% 9% 9% 11% 13% 15% 20%

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