In 2018, there were more cargo thefts in Canada than in the entire U.S., with Toronto Peel Region being the second busiest jurisdiction for thieves behind only California. It is a startling statistic, especially when you consider California has a population of 40 million people, while Peel Region is home to just 1.4 million.
Cargo theft in the U.S. has declined in recent years, from 754 thefts in 2015 to 591 last year, while the opposite is true in Canada. There were 213 cargo thefts in 2015 in Canada, climbing to 621 in 2018, with a total value of more than $60 million.
Cargo thieves are highly organized, with warehouses of their own, that are utilized to quickly unload cargo. They typically have a network of buyers always looking for certain goods and have their own distribution system to get rid of these goods quickly. Food and beverages are now the most frequently stolen loads in Canada with proceeds from cargo theft often used as seed money for more sinister crimes.
In the U.S, cargo crime task forces are in place, with state, federal and municipal police all working together backed by adequate funding. These crimes are handled as an organized crime investigation. In Canada, only Peel and York Region police have dedicated cargo crime units, and these teams are overwhelmed.
The consensus is that Canada should follow the U.S. lead in making cargo crime prevention a priority. Until the public and police agencies begin treating cargo crime like a bigger issue, it is expected to get worse before it improves. At present, it is a low-risk/high-reward crime, with jail time unlikely.
The issue also highlights the importance of protecting your shipments, with sufficient levels of cargo insurance. We can provide insight and guidance in this area, to ensure your assets are protected and you are not exposed to financial risks.
For more information, contact David Lychek, Manager – Ocean & Air Services.