The global economic downturn will lead to an increase in incidents of cargo crime, warns the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA).
Latest statistics from the Association’s Incident Information Service (IIS) for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region show 3,756 reported incidents of cargo crime during 2008 with a total loss value of more than ‘170.6 million. This figure will continue to grow with incident data still being collated for last year.
Just over 10% of crimes reported in 32 countries in EMEA in 2008 were classified by TAPA as ‘major incidents’. Over 72% of the reported crimes were received from the UK, representing 2,720 incidents. Spain and Germany were the second and third highest reporting crime areas with 254 and 207 reported thefts.
In addition, 1,775 incidents of truck theft were reported involving empty vehicles.
Gilad Solnik, IIS Lead for TAPA EMEA, said: ‘The figures we are starting to see for 2008 reinforce our message that no one can afford to be complacent about cargo crime. Through its highly-regarded Freight Security Requirements and Truck Security Requirements, along with the sharing of crime data, market intelligence and co-operation with law enforcement agencies, TAPA members have been seeing a reduction in their overall losses, especially compared to the rest of the industry. However, we expect the level of threat to increase considerably as a direct result of the economic downturn.
‘Organized criminals targeting high value products moving in supply chains remain the greatest threat but businesses also need to be more alert to the risk of opportunist thefts from ad hoc and first-time criminals. We know from previous recessions that crime increases. UK government statistics, for example, reported a 19% increase in violent crime during the recession of the early 1990s. We expect 2009 to be one of the toughest years of the last decade in terms of cargo crime statistics.’
Statistics for 2008 show the number of vehicle thefts (laden or unladen) nearly doubled to 2,067. The majority of these incidents occurred in non-secured parking areas in the UK, Germany and France.
In recent years, attacks on trucks have been the preferred modus operandi of criminals, although thefts from vehicles fell by 20%, according to data captured last year.
One of the most alarming trends in 2008 was the 50% increase in reported thefts from facilities to 102 cases ’ following a downward trend in recent years - while fraud rose 24% to 31 incidents. A 47.4% decrease in the number of vehicle ‘hijackings’ may be the result of additional training companies are giving to drivers to help them to avoid violent attacks while on route.
Consumer electronics, food and beverage, metal, clothing and footwear were among the most frequently stolen products in 2008.
Gilad Solnik added: ‘One of the benefits of TAPA’s membership growth is that we are achieving a broader, more detailed picture of cargo crime, particularly in Europe through new data sources, such as companies in the luxury goods, sports goods and pharmaceuticals industries. The tools and intelligence available to TAPA members are proving to be an effective way to combat crime and our IIS is increasingly seen to have value by members and police agencies. EUROPOL, the European law enforcement organization, for example, now uses IIS as a partner for its cargo theft incidents reporting and mapping system.’