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2013 4th Quarter Supply Chain ISAC Report of Cargo Theft Activity

January 24, 2014 |


The Supply Chain Information Sharing and Analysis Center’s (SC-ISAC) primary mission is to facilitate communication among supply chain dependent industry stakeholders in order to help secure the global supply chain. Towards this end, the SC-ISAC has created a trusted community of manufacturers, shippers, distributors, consignees, law enforcement and insurance entities, where critical information impacting the supply chain is shared.

This information, after being archived and analyzed, allows us to understand the actions of the cargo criminals and how they react to industry and law enforcement actions related to prevention and enforcement. There continues to be significant information showing the identity theft and fictitious pick up activity continues to grow as an ever present method of criminal operation. This crime causes problems with jurisdictions of reporting and information available for follow-up investigation as many times shippers do not have involved equipment and true driver information. Also, the freight has been gone many days before they learn it has not been delivered. The Eastern European ethnic groups originally responsible for much of this activity have been joined by copy cat groups who have found this method of operation is a very effective means of preying on the supply chain.


In 2013, during the 4th quarter, the SC-ISAC recorded 182 incidents, down from the 195 reported in the 2013 3rd Quarter Cargo Theft Report and up from the 176 reported in the 4th quarter of 2012. This report of 377 incidents in the 3rd and 4th quarters combined is down from the record 474 set in last year’s report. The third and fourth quarter remain the most active time frame for cargo crime but this reduction for the last two quarters is an appreciated trend.

The reported events used to create the 4th Quarter 2013 reports were provided by SC-ISAC member organizations, regional security councils, insurance investigators, and law enforcement agencies. We appreciate the batch cargo theft data we also receive from the California Highway Patrol, New Jersey State Police, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Dallas Police Department. This information is extremely important in our analysis and allows us to provide a more thoughtful and complete overview of potential vulnerabilities and emerging crime trends which negatively impacts the global supply chain, a critical infrastructure of the United States.

Cargo Theft Activity by State

For the last three months of 2013, the geographic locations with the most cargo theft activity remained consistent with incidents from earlier reports. Ever since we started this analysis, we see just about the same seven or eight states rotating back and forth through the top spots with California most consistently in the number one position.This Quarter’s top four states (CA, TX, FL and GA) are perennial favorites for cargo thieves and were also three of the same four in the top spot in the 2012 4th Quarter report. California held the top spot for the entire four quarters while the other three moved around but stayed in the top tier.

Theft Activity by State


In 2013, the top three categories in the chart below did not change. We still want to stress that after years of doing analysis; we know that the location type is not as significant as what is done at the location once the rig and cargo has arrived. If the driver leaves the rig and loaded trailer unattended and unsecured for any period of time, the opportunity for theft occurs. This chart should make you focus on orientation and education of your drivers to the awareness of the ease with which rigs and loads can be taken, no matter how long they are being left unattended and especially if they are laden with any of the targeted commodities listed in this report.

The unspecified category in the chart below, involves information received in batch data from law enforcement agencies that did not designate the type of location where the theft occurred.

Theft Activity by Location

When Thefts Occur

Theft Incidents by Day

The data collected on when incidents occur has remained very consistent from day one of collection and analysis. Theft incidents by day continue to show that about 40% of all of those reported occurred on the weekend and if you add the Friday and Monday totals, the percentage goes up to about 70%. Every since we have started this analysis, the weekend time period consistently remains the most active with three day weekends being a very favored time for those who prey on the industry.

We are being as redundant as we can be when we say this is the most consistent and reliable pattern of any of the continuing analysis. Supply chain operations personnel should focus their time and energy to security planning, prevention and preparation for the weekend time period, inputting controls and operations to deal with this time proven statistic and reality.

What’s Stolen

Most Stolen Commodity

When we turn our attention to what type of cargo has been most stolen during the quarter, we again see the expected category, food, in the top three. Consumer Electronics and metals have edged their way up while the “Other,” category remains strong. The top seven categories are consistent with our analysis as electronics finds the top column for the first time in quite awhile and metals moved to become a consistent commodity in the top five.

Because of the level of detail that the SC-ISAC members continue to provide on individual theft incidents, we are able to drill down and look more specifically at the types of products being stolen.

The Specific Items Stolen chart illustrates the frequency in which a specific product(s) is stolen in relationship to the most stolen commodity. Of the ten most stolen commodities for the 4th Quarter 2012 discussed earlier in this report, we have analyzed and identified the most frequently stolen items within those categories.

Although beverage was sixth in the commodity chart, non-Alcohol drinks led the way right behind building supplies in the specific chart. Metals, including copper, steel and aluminum shipments registered multiple losses also.

Specific Items Stolen

Loss Average

For the months of October, November, December 2013, we recorded dollar losses on 55 reported cargo theft incidents (30%) of the 182 involving vehicles, cargo or both. Those 55 incidents have an average loss amount of $73,900.00. If that average was spread over the total of 182, the loss amount would be $13,449,800.00 for the fourth quarter, much smaller average than the preceding fourth quarter.

The cargo theft data collected during the months of October, November and December, 2013 and used in this analysis continue to designate strong and consistent patterns in key areas, including where and when cargo thieves prefer to strike and the products they target to steal.

As the SC-ISAC membership continues to share current and on-going investigative reports, we are able to analyze the data and identify some of the thieves operating patterns. Over the past couple of years we have seen cargo theft groups mature in their thinking and actions. Organized cargo groups have shown a willingness to learn proven business practices, coupled with mastering current technology in order to advance their criminal enterprise. Supply chain stakeholders should ask themselves if they have the aptitude for change, resiliency and innovation in order to battle the current organized and opportunistic groups who target our industry.

We appreciate the industry membership and law enforcement officers and groups, who are assigned cargo crimes, who participate in the information sharing which allows us to provide robust and meaningful analysis based on the submitted theft reports. The sharing of information allows us all to learn (or revisit) lessons without having to be victimized as well and gives us the awareness to make the correct operational and security decisions to give us the best chance for success in the quest to reduce and prevent losses.

For further information about the Supply Chain ISAC ( or the data used in this report, please contact April Tiger @ or JJ Coughlin at or 214-377-0222.

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