© Derektenhue
© Derektenhue

Cargo crime has reached a three-year high, according to the latest reports by TAPA’s Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

The number of incidents reported rose 115% year-on-year, to 444 across 19 countries, for the first quarter.

Of those, 29 were major losses, with a value of more than €100,000. The average loss was just under €75,000, while the largest was the theft of eight pallets of perfume, valued at €600,000, from a trailer in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Of the thefts, 56%, were from trucks stopped at motorway service stations, lay-bys or industrial estates. TAPA noted that a lack of secure parking locations in Europe was evident, with losses from unsecure parking locations accounting for 55% of the thefts.

While it is not clear whether the rise is due to better reporting or more crime, there does appear to be a increasing number of thefts, with a wide variety of goods targeted.

“High volumes of lower-value goods [prove] to be just as attractive to criminals as a few high-value products,” noted TAPA.

The group is urging law enforcement agencies to share cargo crime data with TAPA, to help it and its members understand how and where crime happens, and thus better protect against it.

Some authorities lump all crime reports together, whethe from vehicles, trucks or property, making it harder to extract data specifically referring to cargo crime.

“Our members are able to operate more resilient supply chains because they can use the intelligence we already receive from some police forces to avoid known ‘hotspots’ for cargo crimes and to protect their facilities and vehicles against the types of attacks we know are taking place several times a day in Europe alone,” explained Thorsten Neumann, chairman of TAPA EMEA.

“We already receive data from law enforcement agencies in the UK, Netherlands, Germany and Sweden, and now we have a commitment from the French police to also share data with our Incident Information Service (IIS).

“However, we need much more crime intelligence from across the EMEA region if industry is to help the police tackle this issue.

“Similarly, we are asking more insurers to help us gain a better understanding of the true level of cargo crime, which remains massively under-reported.”

Because some countries report cargo crime better than others seems to distort the overall figures. More than 86% of the cargo thefts reported in the first quarter happened in just four countries – those where law enforcement agencies report their data to TAPA.

“We do not know the full extent of cargo crime in EMEA, nor globally,” said Mr Neumann. “We do know, however, that we are barely scratching the surface of the number of incidents we believe are happening in some major countries in our region.

“The best way to help fight cargo crime is through public-private partnership, where we all contribute to making supply chains safer.”

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