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It's That Time of Year: Preventing Cargo Theft during the Holidays

Cargo thefts are preventable, but operations and safety departments or personnel must work closely to prevent cargo theft. Here are some loss-prevention tips that can help motor carriers and drivers decrease the risk of theft. Security Tips for Drivers

  • Always lock tractor doors and secure all trailer and container doors with a heavy-duty padlock.

  • Keep tractor windows rolled up until you are on the open road.

  • Always carry information concerning the identification of the tractors, trailers, chassis, or containers you are pulling. These details include license numbers, container numbers, and physical characteristics. Law enforcement can’t act on cargo theft without this information.

  • Maintain regular communication with your dispatcher, and let the dispatcher know of anything suspicious or odd.

  • Do not discuss your load on the radio, over the phone, or in public – cargo thieves listen, too.

  • When possible, vary your delivery route.

  • When possible, go directly to your delivery point without making any stops.

  • When you need a rest stop, park in areas where other truck drivers are present.

  • Stop only at reputable truck stops along your route. Don’t stop at the same location every time.

Security Tips for Motor Carriers PERSONNEL

  • Require all personnel with access to cargo areas, including vendors, contractors, maintenance, and clerical workers, to provide a detailed application that includes a photograph and lists residences and prior employment for the past 10 years, if applicable.

  • Screen all applications to verify address and prior employment.

  • Have applicants list all vehicles used for work; information should include license numbers and descriptions.

  • Maintain a random drug testing program, including "probable cause" testing.

  • Limit the number of employees who have access to shipping information.

  • Set up a reporting procedure that includes a substantial reward plan so company drivers and other employees can and will provide information about possible criminal activity.


  • Either provide your own guards or hire a reputable guard service. Question the service about its hiring practices. Insist that it conduct the same background checks on its guards that you do on your drivers.

  • Limit yard access after normal business hours.


  • Make sure you have complete records of all the equipment in your yard overnight, especially license plate, container, and trailer numbers.

  • Install high-quality pin locks on trailers or containers that are left in your yard overnight.

  • Install time-lapse surveillance cameras in your yard so they clearly identify a driver and tractor-trailer leaving the yard.


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