Cargo Theft Advisory


During the holidays your business may be closed and employees are taking a few days off, but the crooks will be working full-time to target great opportunities for their own gain at your expense. Whether you have tractors, trailers, warehouse space and offices, we all pay for cargo theft.

General Security
  • Check facility security lighting to ensure it is adequate and functional, and remember to test timers for proper operation.
  • Remember that lighting can be obstructed by vehicles or trees, which allows thieves to work without being seen.
  • Walk the perimeter of the yard to ensure that security fencing and physical barriers are in good condition and properly secured. This is a good opportunity to identify anything out of the ordinary that may require further investigation.
  • Move units and all other material such as pallets, tires, etc. far enough away from the fence so they cannot be used to climb over the fence.
  • Test all security alarms and cameras to confirm they are in working order, and test back-up battery circuits to ensure they are operational in the event of power disruption. Use of a non-integrated cellular verified alarm system is recommended as a back-up in the event the main system is defeated.
  • ESPECIALLY during the holidays, the crooks want you and law enforcement to be lazy and not follow typical protocol following alarm activation. If you have had any recent alarms, they might have been a “test” to see what response, if any, there is after activation. Get any concerns fixed now before the holiday weekend.
  • Be sure the company alarm list is current with valid contact information. It should be a requirement of the responsible party to respond to alarm calls even if a malfunction is suspected.
  • Review security procedures with affected employees and remind them of the importance of “sticking to the plan.”
  • Remove keys from all forklifts and vehicles and store them in a secure location.
  • Notify local law enforcement of your hours of operation during the holidays so they know when to expect activity at your facilities. Request extra patrols of the area if needed.
Equipment Security
  • Secure trucks, tractors, trailers and items of value at your facility or a secure lot.
  • If a secure lot is not an option, choose a location that is well lit and equipped with surveillance cameras – and be sure to park within camera view if possible. When dropping a trailer, drivers should notify dispatch of where and when the trailer was dropped, and provide an estimated time of return.
  • Consider blocking the entrance and exits to your parking lots so equipment cannot be stolen. Throughout the holiday weekend, management should check yards and unattended equipment frequently.
  • Utilize equipment locks such as steering wheel locks, air cuff locks, a battery kill switch, king pin locks, glad hand locks and disc-cylinder padlocks on trailer doors. Use covert tracking devices embedded in freight with geo-fencing and alert notification capabilities.
  • Diesel fuel in vehicle tanks is especially vulnerable to theft, but theft of Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF) has really increased the past few years due to the precious metals inside. Thieves use portable saws to cut off the DPF, and they do this when nobody is working at your facility.
  • If your units do not have anti-siphon devices or locking caps, instruct drivers not to fill the units at the end of the day before the holiday weekend.

Remember, your preparation and vigilance helps us in the battle against cargo and equipment theft – a tremendous expense to us all.


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Michael Nischan Headshot
Michael Nischan

VP, Transportation & Logistics Risk Control – Duluth, GA