With cargo theft on the rise, many shippers and brokers alike, are rightfully becoming increasingly concerned about their loads being vandalized. I’ve even had a broker list restricted cities and areas throughout the country that they didn't want their loads traveling through or parked in. Although none of my trucks go to any of those listed cities, it serves as a reminder that while we are responsible for the freight on our trucks, we also need to do our part in making sure we take every precaution to not be the next victim!
If you think about it, if someone truly has their heart set on breaking into your load while it’s parked somewhere, they'll probably stop at nothing to do so. There's no such thing as a completely secure trailer. Let’s face it, if a crook knew your trailer was filled with bars of gold, chances are they'd likely cut a hole in the side of your trailer to get to it! The best we can do is take certain steps that make it less likely, and mitigate things that make it easier for a potential break-in to happen. You want to make yourself the harder trailer to break into, so the thief moves onto an easier target.
Below are a few of the steps we use on my trucks to make sure we never park with a load on that looks easy enough to get into, that a perpetrator would want to try their luck at getting what’s inside:
- Don’t be a sitting duck! Although it may seem tempting to run out your clock to nearly the very last minute, then pull over to an off-ramp or side spot away from people, you're setting yourself up to be a target. Stop yourself short, and pull over at a well-traveled area instead. A lonesome, loaded truck on the side of the highway makes for a pretty tempting target to a would-be thief.
- Zip your lips! You know we’ve all heard that super trucker on the radio talking about the great rate they got on some killer freight they’re hauling! Well, that killer freight they talked about so freely might just turn out to be the perfect bait! Whether over the radio, or at the coffee shop counter, keep your lips zipped about what’s “in the box”. It’s really no one’s business, and if someone else overhears your conversation about what you're carrying, they might just have the urge to single you out and grab it for themselves!
- Lock it up! In my opinion, you can never have too many locks on a loaded trailer, especially if you're not going to be around for a period of time. The next time you walk through the back lot of your favorite truck stop, think like a crook for a second! Would you rather go for the trailer that has an Enforcer, or Ranger, door-bar lock and a cut-resistant Masterlock on its sealed door, or the truck next to it with nothing but a little plastic shipper seal between you and their freight?
- Avoid the shadows! Not all of us can avoid running into less-desirable parts of some towns at night. When you do so, don’t stay too long in areas that are not well lit, and well-traveled, if possible. Even in a busy truck stop, avoid darker areas like the back row and areas that back up to vacant fields. Try your best to park in a well-lit area with other trucks around that might look out for your well-being too.
In practicing some of these tips and adding your own common sense tactics along the way to avoid cargo theft, you, too, can make yourself the least likely target in a crowd. In my opinion, no load is worth my life, or that of one of my drivers, but preventative preparedness can go a long way in avoiding a circumstance that could put them, and our cargo, in jeopardy. Make sure the target you carry on your back while hauling freight is the smallest one possible, and reduce your chance of being a victim of cargo theft in the long run for doing so!