After a major increase in 2020 and the height of COVID-19, cargo theft is decreasing once again. CargoNet reports a 15% decrease in the number of cargo thefts in the US and Canada in 2021 versus the previous year. However, these numbers are still higher than their pre-pandemic levels.
According to CargoNet, losses from thefts decreased by $8 million from the previous year. This is big news for shippers, as both the absolute and average losses from cargo theft rose noticeably during the pandemic. Things have, hopefully, begun to stabilize.
And luckily for truckers, fictitious pickups fell sharply as well. Following the increase in thefts in 2020, businesses up and down the supply chain altered their processes to increase security. It appears that many of these new policies are working as intended to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic theft. So truckers need not worry so much about any issues with the security of their oversize loads.
Changing Targets for Shipping Thefts
During the worst of the pandemic, the merchandise most heavily targeted were things like masks, hand sanitizer, and other products in shortage. Household item thefts are now declining significantly. So, the focus has shifted to the big prizes. Namely, theft of consumer electronics rose a whopping 34% in 2021. High-end computer parts and phones continue to be a major target for these thieves.
This helps explain why California, home to Silicon Valley, was the most targeted state once again and saw a large increase in thefts. With so many consumers in California gravitating towards higher-end electronics, it makes sense that they’re hit the hardest. Texas and Florida are the next two states in terms of thefts; these three states accounted for nearly 50% of all cargo thefts in 2021.
CargoNet expects the level of theft to remain slightly higher in 2022 compared to pre-pandemic levels.