If you’re a trucker, your business depends on getting your cargo from Point A to Point B. Unfortunately, unscrupulous cargo thieves often have different ideas. Finding out that your semi truck or box truck has mysteriously driven itself away (or that the trailer has mysteriously unloaded itself) is enough to ruin a perfectly good day. Not to mention that you have to explain to the client that their load is missing in action. Cargo theft is more common than you might think.
But not to worry – we’ve got some tips to help you prevent cargo theft.
1. Be aware of your surroundings.
It’s important to be alert and to watch for suspicious activity. Not that we want you to become super paranoid or anxious all the time, but it’s a good idea to pay attention to your surroundings and look out for anything odd.
2. Try not to leave your truck or your trailer unattended.
Thieves often look for the path of least resistance. If you’re attentive and supervising your load, they might be less likely to try to steal it. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to be chained to your truck, but try not to leave it unsupervised for long amounts of time.
3. Consider your route.
If you often drive to the same places and make the same stops for deliveries, consider changing up the route that you take. As far-fetched as it may seem, a cargo thief may be keeping tabs on your movements and planning to steal your truck or load. Many thieves like predictability, so if you switch things up you make yourself less of a target.
4. Lock it up.
Locks are great for foiling burglaries and grand theft cargo. A king-pin lock can secure your trailer to your truck so the trailer can’t be unhooked, and air brake locks can stop the brake from being released. Simply having these barriers in a place can help deter cargo theft. Like we said, thieves are looking for the easy mark, the job that will take the least amount of time and effort.
5. Don’t talk about your load.
If you advertise that you’re hauling valuable or expensive cargo, you could be telling a potential thief that your truck is a great mark. Don’t talk about what you’re hauling over the radio or at truck stops. Be discreet about what you’re hauling.
6. Avoid stopping or leaving your truck on the side of the road or the highway.
Hmm…abandoned truck on the side of the road with no one around? Just left there with no one to see cargo being stolen? What’s not for a thief to like about that scenario if they’re planning a cargo theft?
So, you can see where we’re going with this. The side of the road is not the safest or most secure place. Parking your truck or trailer on the side of the road could be an invitation for someone to steal stuff. Public places are typically more secure.
7. Communicate your whereabouts to your dispatcher and friends.
It’s generally a good idea to let people know where you’re going and when they should expect you to check in. Keep in contact with your dispatcher and let a family member, friend, or co-worker know where your route will take you. That way someone will know that something could be wrong if you don’t check in when you’re supposed to and they can raise the alarm.
8. Use technology to keep tabs on your truck.
GPS can pinpoint the location of your truck and trailer if one (or both) suddenly vanish. Using GPS trackers in your truck can help in recovering the vehicle.
And it’s important to know what to do if you’re targeted by a thief.
If you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation where you’re confronted by a thief, stay calm. If you’re in a life-threatening or dangerous situation, comply with the thief’s demands. Do what they say, even if it means letting the cargo go. Try to remember any details that you can so you can relate them to the police later.
So, take the time to protect your truck from cargo theft. Avoid having to file a claim against your cargo coverage…and having to explain to the client that their cargo is gone.
Want to save money on your truck insurance? We would be happy to help you with that. We can shop your insurance rates so you can get the best coverage at the best price. All you have to do is fill out our quote form or give us a call.