Cargo Theft in Canada Highest in North America

Car Thief Car Robbery Concept Photo. Caucasian Male Thief in Black Mask Trying to Open Car Using Custom Tool and Flashlight. Car Robber.

Cargo Theft in Canada Highest in North America

We all saw the news on Monday, January 13, 2020 when a tractor trailer truck full of high value meat was stolen and unfortunately crashed causing the death of the driver who stole the truck as well as injuring 2 others when he hit 2 cars in the intersection just before crashing into the Esso station and turning over. The tractor trailer had also hit a power line causing a power outage to over 2,000 homes in the area. The fatal crash happened at the corner of Mavis Rd and Eglington Ave in Mississauga at 12:10 am. The tractor had been stolen the week before and the trailer had been stolen the night of the accident, two different conveyances from two different companies. Thank goodness he didn’t hit the gas pumps, what a catastrophe that would have been! Unfortunately, the trucking industry has been hit very hard with the amount of cargo theft we are seeing out there today.

This problem spreads worldwide, the trucks being stolen in Europe; the drivers are tossed out of their trucks and sadly the thief uses the truck to smash into crowds of people as an act of terrorism. Trucks and vans being stolen in Toronto and being used for crashing into people. Fully Loaded Tractor trailer trucks and tankers being held hostage with a demand for large amounts of cash to release the truck for delivery. Tractors being stolen from truck yards, loaded dropped trailers being stolen from shippers’ yards, loaded trucks being stolen from truck stops, the list goes on and on. Reports of stolen cargo loads are coming in at a rapid rate, whether you are carrying food, beverages, clothing, alcohol, hazardous substances, vehicles, computers or even mail, your truck is a target to thieves. Why is Cargo Theft on the Rise you ask?

To thieves, stealing trucks, especially the loaded ones, are considered Low Risk High Reward Crimes. The thieves are netting 30% of the loads value after reselling the stolen goods, for example if the load is worth $1million that’s $300,000 for one load in their pocket! The value of the 2019 cargo loads stolen in Canada is an estimated $70 million. Only the Peel and York regions of Ontario have dedicated police units, consisting of only 3 or 4 officers on duty, for cargo and tractor trailer thefts in all of Canada. The GTA is the “Hot Bed” of cargo theft in Canada.

There were more goods stolen in the GTA in 2018 and 2019 than all of the USA. In fact, the Peel region in particular falls only slightly under the theft rates in California which is the highest in all of North America. This is a surprising statistic considering the state of California’s population is 40 million vs the 1.4 million living in the Peel Region. Unfortunately our Canadian Justice system allows these cargo thieves to walk right back out on the streets to do it again post convictions and usually within 24 hours of the arrest. Trucking companies across Canada are calling on our Canadian Justice system to make drastic changes in their handling of cargo theft cases. Cargo theft costs the Canadian economy $5 billion per year and is increasing at a rapid rate. In the US they have cargo task forces consisting of state, municipal and federal police services and they are government funded, the US treats these crimes as organized crime, which they should be and Canada should be doing this as well. That’s why the thieves target Canada, they know they probably won’t get caught and if they do, they will get arrested, go to court, then walk away the next day free.

The reward is far greater than the risk for them. Trucking companies across the board must beef up their security practices. Be smart when doing this however, you don’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, make the smart inexpensive yet effective choices. Never leave your truck running when unattended, always lock your windows and doors including your trailer doors – equip your trailer doors with padlocks, obviously if you are part of the CTPAT and PIP programs you already know that when shipping cross border you need to have the high security seal on your trailer doors – these are only necessary for cross border – when running domestic you only need a padlock or the equivalent locking mechanism. For the trailer use a good king pin lock – this is an anti-theft device used to prevent the theft of semi trailers that are unhooked from the tractor.

Always park your locked trucks in a well-lit area. These days most trucks are equipped with some sort of GPS tracking device and if you are doing cross border you know that you have to use eLog systems which also have a tracking module; eLogs will become mandatory in Canada this year as well. Make sure that all your drivers are equipped with cell phones, these also have GPS and tracking as well as can be used for emergency calling 911 when deemed necessary. The cargo theft police officers as well as CBSA, RCMP and CBP all agree that the majority of cargo thefts are “inside” jobs. Make sure you know who is working for you, always run criminal record checks on all of your employees. Conduct employee and driver training sessions at least yearly. Post notices in your office, warehouse area and at entrances and exits stating “Any persons that are unauthorized or unidentified on site are to be immediately challenged as to their presence and 911 will be called if necessary.” The use of video cameras in your yard, warehouse and office is great and when theft happens, there are several great inexpensive choices such as Arlo that sends video messages immediately right to your email and or cell phone.

If you have a fenced yard you are ahead of the game, if you don’t, think about utilizing/renting spaces in a fenced yard close to your location, there are many secured yards that are in the business of renting spaces to trucking companies for just this reason. Thieves get through fences also so it’s not the solution. Your best bet is to fully secure your tractors and trailers with locks, king pin locks, tracking devices, employ only fully trained and criminal record checked drivers, keep an eye on your dispatch team – criminal record check them all, if you have a warehouse same thing – criminal record checks. Ensure that you do both your safety and 17-point inspections to check for anything suspicious in your tractor and or trailer. Report suspicious activities: In Canada call 911. Cross border from Canada and the USA toll free: 1-888-502-9060. For non urgent threats contact the RCMP at: 1-800-420-5805. For more information about this article, border crossings or safety security & compliance programs such as CTPAT, FAST, PIP, TTP, AEO, CSA, NEXUS please contact Cross Border Services at