8 Tips For Preventing Cargo Theft and Protect Your Supply Chain

Truckers know that living life on the road has its challenges. Unfortunately, inclement weather, truck failure and cargo securement mishaps aren’t the only big bad truckers have to watch out for during transit. There are also cargo thieves hanging in the wings. Truckers are a huge target for thieves since they carry all types of valuable goods such as food, electronics, and clothes. Though, cargo theft doesn’t just affect the truck driver, but it also has a negative impact on the economy. The entire system collapses, from a loss in sales to reimbursing the cost of damaged goods and dealing with transportation fees. Fortunately, there are a few ways truckers can prevent truck cargo theft from happening.

How Much Cargo Is Stolen Every Year?

Unfortunately, truckers are constantly robbed every year. In fact, the National Retail Federation (NRF) states that cargo theft is a billion-dollar problem that happens annually. A single load stolen can cause a serious financial loss for shippers, costing them nearly thousands of dollars. Not to mention, more than half of cargo thefts happen while your cargo is being shipped.

There are all types of goods that cargo thieves steal, which include electronics, clothes, household essentials and among others. These types of products are easy to steal and resell on the black market. Making matters worse, companies fail to better protect these goods from thieves. It’s no wonder that so much cargo is stolen on a yearly basis.

Where Is Cargo Theft Most Common?

Cargo theft is an ongoing threat that continues to plague the trucking industry. It helps to know that theft happens in certain areas more than others. If you’re a new trucker or even a seasoned one, here’s a heads-up on the cities to watch out for:

  • California
  • Texas
  • Chicago
  • Florida
  • Los Angeles

In 2022, California, Texas and Florida reported having the highest cases of cargo theft. They reported 1,778 incidents of stolen goods, which accounts for half of 2022’s total thefts. The estimated value of stolen goods was in the ballpark of a whopping $223 million. It’s no wonder the economy crashes when cargo theft strikes.

Here Are Some High-Risk Shipments

Household appliances and furniture:

A shipment of goods just looks like a good payday for cargo thieves. They steal several types of goods, including home appliances and furniture. This includes common household items like refrigerators, washers, dryers and ovens. Last year, it was reported that thieves often stole household items from long-haulers using pilfering tactics. Believe it or not, these robbers can get pretty crafty and clever.


As mentioned previously, electronics are considered one of the most high-risk items stolen from truck drivers. Thieves will steal anything from cell phone parts to even a brand new Xbox. The state of California even noticed their theft numbers went up for computer parts.

Food and beverage:

If you’re hauling food and beverages, you can bet your bottom dollar that thieves will try and rob you. There’s been a huge rise in food and beverage cargo theft in the last few years. In fact, the FBI often reports a billion-dollar loss every year just from those goods alone. Thieves have to eat too.

Intermodal hubs:

However, Intermodal goods are the biggest target for thieves. Products being transferred from a truck to a train or a boat have the most theft. You would think that too many transfers would confuse the thieves but in actuality, the change-up makes it easier for them to steal. In California, there was a huge increase in supply chain theft reported in 2022, just from the transportation of intermodal goods alone.

Tips For Preventing Cargo Theft

1. Park in Secure Locations:

Fortunately, there are tons of ways truckers can promote cargo prevention. One of the best ways to do so is to park in a safe location with tons of lighting. Truckers should also lock all their doors and have their keys with them at all times. Inspect your truck and look for any type of cut wires, flat tires or other instances of tampering. Lastly, make sure you are fully awake and have your eyes peeled to spot any suspicious behavior. You want to spot the thieves before they find you.

2. Keep Cargo Moving:

Though, making a rest stop could be risky. There’s the old expression”Cargo at rest is cargo at risk” and it rings true for a lot of drivers. Theft almost always happens during truck stops, in a parking lot, roadside parking, and especially store parking lots on the weekends. You want to cut your rest stop in half and get back on the road as soon as possible. Truckers should always keep their cell phone out and ready. Have an open line of communication between yourself and your boss. Let them know your dispatch location, how long your rest stop will last, and what time you plan to return to the truck.

3. Know the High-Risk Hot Spots & Theft Time:

Additionally, educate yourself on what areas are high risk for cargo theft to take place. Truckers are more likely to get robbed during the weekends, the holidays and in the late afternoon. As mentioned before, the states California, Florida, and Texas have the highest rates of cargo theft in the U.S. Even other places like New Jersey, Georgia and Chicago are starting to rank higher. If you’re traveling to these parts of the country, watch your back.

4. Secure Your Trailer Or Fleet Perfectly:

Also, keep your trailer safe by using several different security devices. Locks on the cargo door, King Pin locks and landing gear locks are some of the best security tools you can use to protect your cargo. You can even use air cuff locks in the instance that your tractor is attached to the trailer. This way, thieves will have a harder time trying to rob your shipment.

5. Invest In Digital Technology:

Other Cargo Theft solutions include using modern technology. A GPS, shipment tracking, a wheel lock and alarms can stop a theft in their tracks and prevent you from getting robbed. There are even apps out there that let a driver know if they’ve gone outside their scheduled route time. Modern trucking just made trucking safer.

6. Keep Your Delivery Locations Private:

You can also stop bragging about your shipment to your co-workers and friends. Especially refrain from posting about your drop off location on social media. Thieves also use Instagram and Facebook too. The fewer people who know about your consignee locations, the safer you and your cargo will be.

7. Create Alliances With Law Enforcement:

Making friends with the FBI or NYPD can also keep you better protected. Who better to befriend than the police? It’s a great way to stay up-to-date on all the latest tactics and methods cargo thieves use. Developing a budding partnership with CargoNet, a big-time security organization, can even help you recover any stolen cargo.

8. Use Physical Security Devices:

As mentioned previously, you should use a variety of security devices to protect your cargo. Physical types of securement include air cuffs, landing gear locks on your trailer and a few locks on the rear door. Basically, make sure your whole truck is secure from front to back. Then you won’t have any worries.

Beat Them At Their Own Game

Cargo Theft won’t go away overnight, but it can be prevented if you use these simple cargo theft solutions. Knowing how, where and when thieves might strike also helps when you’re on the way to potentially dangerous destinations, like California. The best way to keep you and your cargo safe is beating the thieves at their own game. If you learn to protect yourself, stay vigilant and make smart decisions about securing your goods, you’ll have no problems on the road.