Thinking Like a Thief

It’s that time of year again, products are flying off the shelves as bustling shoppers pack their carts with holiday purchases. As those store shelves are kept full by the transportation industry, many Owner/Operators are all too aware this is also the most prevalent and dangerous time for cargo theft.

Cargo theft across Canada is estimated at being a staggering 5 billion dollar problem. When cargo goes missing the retail sector and customers face frustrating delays while Owner/Operators are forced to deal with insurance implications such as deductibles, claims notices and possible increased premiums. Outside of the transportation industry cargo theft fuels organized criminal activities through the black market economy which greatly affects the safety and security of the public while consuming valuable law enforcement resources.​

Reported theft hotspots across Canada include Mississauga, Brampton and Montreal as well as transportation hubs in southern Ontario and Vancouver. According to FreightWatch, 90% of cargo thefts occur when trucks are stationary or unattended between the hours of 10 pm and 4 am and 87% are due to lack of secure parking. Although thieves tend to target high end goods they also aim to steal everyday household items which are easy to sell and difficult to trace such as food and beverages.

As thieves are becoming much more organized and well informed, thinking like a thief can help identify gaps in business practices and help to minimize susceptibility to cargo crime. Some helpful reminders to assist in mitigating risk include:

1 – Shorten Storage Time– As statistics show the vast majority of cargo gets stolen overnight; scheduling pickups closer to time of delivery and ensuring loads are delivered while the receiver is open can greatly decrease the opportunity for theft. Also, as reports show 70-75% of cargo thefts occur on the weekend, avoiding weekend storage can greatly reduce the risk of theft.

2 – Add Extra Locks – As simple as it sounds adding extra protection to secure trucks and trailers is often enough to deter thieves which tend to seek out easy targets. Simple bolts and padlocks can help to secure trailers while cone shapes locks make it difficult for thieves to hook up the king pin and drive away.

3 – Parking Location – Parking in well lit, secure facilities greatly decreases the chances of thieves having access to cargo.

4 – Track Your Goods – GPS devices can be relatively low in cost and can assist in tracking goods in the event they are stolen.

Recognizing the magnitude of the cargo theft problem in Canada, the Canadian Trucking Alliance and the Insurance Bureau of Canada have partnered to make it simple for carriers to report theft. Their system provides valuable information to local and national law enforcement agencies including border patrol and has already assisted in the recovery of stolen goods. Submitting an incident report is as easy as making an anonymous phone call to 1-877-422-8477, which operates day and night or completing an incident report online at

As Owner/Operators today have more responsibilities and demands on their time, it is more important than ever to have proper, dependable insurance coverage. Understanding the details of your insurance policy is essential to ensuring you have adequate protection for all risks associated with your business operations. When purchasing any insurance it is important to work with a reputable broker. For over 25 years National Truck League has been providing industry leading coverage and peace of mind to truckers across Canada. We are always pleased to review available coverage options with our clients to help them ensure they have adequate protection for themselves, their family and their business.

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