Vehicles getting stolen in the United States are nothing new. While such incidents have seen a decline in the past, it seems that grand theft auto cases are rising again. According to Statista, the motor vehicle theft rate in the US has increased in the last two to three years. Besides cars and motorbikes, we have also seen an increase in semi-truck thefts recently.
According to data from CargoNet, in 2022, events involving the theft of at least one semi-truck or heavy commercial vehicle increased by 17 percent year-over-year. In most cases, the culprits fled the crime scene with just the cargo. However, there are also cases where they somehow manage to steal entire trucks or valuable truck parts, which has become a trend in some parts of the US recently.
As reported by the LA Times, thieves are stealing common powertrain controller modules, or CPCs, from parked trucks. These modules can cost about $1,500 to $2,000 apiece. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department received reports of 40 stolen units in just November last year.
Based on these incidents, it’s evident that semi-truck theft is becoming a major problem in the US right now. If you run a cargo delivery or semi-truck rental business, how do you stop your vehicles from getting stolen?
In this article, we’ll share with you some of the best ways to protect your semi-truck and its cargo against theft, thereby saving you from losses worth hundreds and thousands of dollars.
Irrespective of the size or value of your cargo, always take time to plan the route you’re taking to your destination. Avoiding high-crime areas or truck stops infamous for cargo theft is not going to be possible all the time. However, what you can do is plan your route in a way such that you don’t have to stop in those areas for long durations.
While planning your route, ensure the drivers are aware of the areas that are hot spots for cargo and truck theft. Involve them as much as possible since these drivers can also share their insights regarding the route plan and mentally prepare themselves for the journey right from the start.
As the route gets planned, the truck can avoid or limit its time in areas known for theft or other crimes. Such planning reduces the risk of theft as it helps you prevent exposing the truck and cargo to those high-risk areas.
Never park your truck in an area or stoppage with a high crime rate. If you must, do so for a limited time and let your dispatch know about it. However, the best idea here is to find a parking space that offers secure parking facilities. Such locations or truck stops have semi-truck parking facilities with dedicated security measures to keep your truck and cargo safe 24/7.
A semi-truck parking lot that offers such facilities will have a few distinct qualities. According to Big Rig Parking, these spaces are well-lit and offer continuous video surveillance. The parking lots are also surrounded by high boundaries, so no one can enter the area by jumping the fence. Additionally, each entry and exit is recorded in a log book or through barcodes such that unauthorized access to and out of the parking lot can be restricted completely.
Parking your semi-truck in such parking lots will provide full safety for your truck and cargo. Additionally, it allows your driver to rest for a while without having to worry about theft.
Your drivers need to be in frequent contact with your dispatch. Trucking companies have various policies set up regarding such communication. Some ask their drivers to check in with the dispatch once every hour or a couple of hours. However, some ask them to check in only when they’re arriving or departing a truck stop.
The best idea is to have your drivers check in with dispatch once every hour as well as when they come to or leave a stop. At the same time, you should also instruct your drivers to contact dispatch whenever they have to make an emergency stop or if they notice any anomaly in the route they are on.
Frequent communication can help you protect your semi-truck, drivers, and cargo by ensuring they are safe. It also gives you the opportunity to mitigate any problem early on and avoid risking theft.
A fleet monitoring system will give you a bird’s eye view of your entire semi-truck fleet, no matter where they are. From the location of each truck to how fast they’re being driven, the fleet monitoring system will provide you with all these details and more. This is a crucial detail to protect your semi-truck and cargo.
These systems will come in handy when you don’t hear from one of your trucks for a long time. You can then check to see if the truck is stopped somewhere it shouldn’t have stopped. Or, if it’s taking a different route than the initial route plan. In such circumstances, you can intervene if necessary by trying to contact the driver through some other means. Additionally, you could call a nearby law enforcement department to check up on your truck and cargo.
According to IBIS World, the general freight trucking market in the US has grown 4.2 percent per year on average between 2017 and 2022. Based on this data, it goes without saying that this industry has great potential going forward.
However, theft remains a major concern in this sector. Thus, you must take all necessary measures to protect your semi-truck. Use the points above to do so with absolute ease.