Spike in pharmaceutical thefts in 2013

rear view truckThere was a 50 per cent increase in pharmaceutical cargo thefts in the US last year, although the total number of incidents across all sectors stayed roughly the same.

The figures, from cargo security specialist Freightwatch International, suggest that the threat of cargo theft "continues to grow in the US due to increased organisation and innovation on the part of cargo thieves," with 951 incidents equalling the record set in 2012*.

Full truckload (FTL) pharma thefts have been on the wane in recent years but rose 50 per cent to 33 cases last year from 22 in 2012, with the average value of stolen shipments also rising by nearly 15 per cent to $262,000.

The pharma sector accounted for just 4 per cent of the total number of thefts in the year. Food and drink took the brunt with 27 per cent of the total, followed by electronics (14 per cent), home/garden and metal (10 per cent apiece) and building/industrial and clothing (7 per cent each).

Drilling down into the data, Freightwatch notes that Florida and Pennsylvania continued to be hot spots for pharma thefts, while California and Illinois saw dramatic increases.

There were also increases in food/beverage incidents (up 34 per cent to 245 thefts) - with big increases for seafood and nuts. The report suggests criminals may be shifting attention to this category from higher-value goods such as electronics and medicines due to relatively low levels of security.

Deceptive pickups, which increased steadily from 2006 through 2012, numbered 61 in 2013, roughly in line with 2012 levels. There were 27 facility burglaries and incidents involving violence remained a very low portion of cargo thefts, representing 1.26 per cent of the total.

* the figures do not include last-mile courier thefts.

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