IBC: Rising cargo theft a multi-billion-dollar problem in Canada

IBC hosts “Red Flags at the Roadside II” seminar to help fight cargo crime

Dieppe, NB (June 5, 2013) – Cargo theft is rising in Canada, costing Canadians more than $5 billion a year. Insurance Bureau of Canada and PATNET (Provincial Auto Theft Network) are working to fight cargo crime by hosting Red Flags at the Roadside II today in Dieppe. This year’s annual training session focuses on cargo theft prevention and investigation.

“Cargo theft is much more than an insurance problem. It’s a dangerous, expensive, global threat that puts individuals, communities and businesses at risk. The insurance industry and law enforcement are committed to working together to fight cargo crime to stay ahead of these crime rings,” says Amanda Dean, Vice-President, Atlantic, IBC.

Cargo theft has become a widespread and major challenge in Canada’s $65 billion trucking industry. FreightWatch International, a logistical security service which works to reduce cargo crime, recorded that theft incidents in Canada rose 18% between 2011 and 2012. Canadian cargo thefts are typically centred around metropolitan areas. Peel Region in Ontario is considered the cargo theft capital of North America.

Although Canadian data is sparse due to limited centralized recording, the United States had a record number of cargo theft activity last year, with 946 incidents according to FreightWatch International. This year FreightWatch has already recorded 176 cargo theft incidents in the U.S.A. The average loss per incident was $120,990.

“Cargo theft is a big problem in the trucking industry and we need to continue to educate drivers and carriers on good practices. We also need to work closely with the authorities on ways in which we can help each other to fight cargo theft,” says Jean-Marc Picard, Executive Director, Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association.

“Support from IBC as well as local sponsors has made this three part red flags workshop series possible and gives greater credibility to the NB PATNET,” says Constable Keith Copeland, Saint John Police Force. He goes on to explain that front line police officers from across the Maritimes attend these workshops to learn from NB PATNET members how to recognize the red flags that could alert them to a potentially stolen vehicle or stolen cargo. The red flags that they spot are often the first indicators of what could become a complex investigation. “The red flags series provides patrol officers with knowledge, skills & abilities they can use every day on the streets of our towns and cities,” he adds.

Corporal Paula Hanson of the Woodstock Police Force, who has investigated rashes of cargo thefts in New Brunswick, agrees with the value of the workshop series. “Cargo theft is a multi-billion dollar industry in Canada and the United States,” she says. “It is an enticing venture for criminals. Cargo theft is dominated by organized crime; and, a thriving black market keeps sophisticated and networked thieves in business.”

“The Red Flags at the Roadside seminar is an excellent opportunity for law enforcement officers and security officials to share information and intelligence and learn from each other on how to combat this crime,” says Guy Ouellette, Auto Theft Investigator, Atlantic with IBC. “To successfully fight cargo and heavy equipment theft, there is a need for all parties involved to work together as a cohesive unit. No one can do it alone.”

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 115,000 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $44 billion.

To view media releases and information, visit the media section of IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca and for IBC on Twitter follow @insurancebureau.