Masked Man Sneaking inside truck

Crime in Trucking

A mindful trucker talks theft prevention.

By Dana Smith

The driver:

Driving a truck these days requires a lot of different skills, and of course safe driving.

From driving to navigation; from safety to load security, specialized loads to temperature control, to organizing their time efficiently, a big part of being a driver is staying safe on the road. This can be difficult at times when drivers are forced to park on the side of the highways, or in so-called bad areas. They can become a target without doing anything, just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

A driver’s safety is paramount. How does a driver deal with that? Here are a few ways to protect oneself:

  1. Always be on the lookout for suspicious activity around you
  2. Never tell anyone what you’re hauling
  3. Look around your rig, and your immediate area when you get out of the truck
  4. When stopping, stop in familiar places as much as possible
  5. Park in well-lit areas
  6. Perform regular walk around checks on your vehicle to notice anything out of the ordinary
  7. Stay alert within your surroundings
  8. If you do suspect suspicious activity, call the authorities

The cargo:

Cargo theft is another threat that drivers need to be aware of. It used to be that criminals would steal what they could from the back of a trailer that had been sitting around for long periods of time unattended. Nowadays, full trailers are being stolen in broad daylight. They steal the truck, trailer, and the load all at once.

Sometimes criminals will steal a tractor, and go hook onto a trailer and drive away with it. Knowing what is in a trailer is usually something that only an employee would know, or would have told someone outside the company. One thing to consider and ask yourself when these things happen: Is the load worth your life? Absolutely not!! Don’t be a hero and try to take that on yourself. Call the authorities and let them deal with it. Things can get out of hand quickly. You don’t want to lose your life over a piece of freight, because freight can be replaced, but you can’t.

How can you, the driver and your company have a fighting chance against cargo theft?

  1. Have a theft management plan in place beforehand
  2. Screen all employees involved in your supply chain
  3. Use trailer tracking GPS units attached to the trailer
  4. Educate the drivers on what to do should theft occur
  5. Stay alert with your surroundings all the time.
  6. Onboard cameras can be a great theft deterrent

Stowaways and drug crime:

I’m sure you have heard of people stowing away in tractor trailers or containers from time-to-time. These people are looking to relocate to a different country and may hop aboard your trailer without you even knowing it. They could be already in your trailer when you pick it up. Human smuggling is a real thing. Being aware of this can save you a lot of issues.

There are also people that would, and could stow drugs aboard your rig as well. You stop somewhere and they attach drugs under your trailer, or in your load somewhere. Maybe they are hidden in your load before you even pick it up. Remember that drugs can be worth a lot of money to someone, and they will go to great lengths to transport them along for the ride with an unexpecting trucker.

How can you the driver protect yourself from stowaways and drug crime?

  1. Always be on the lookout for suspicious activity around you.
  1. When stopping, stop in familiar places as much as possible. 
  2. Park in well-lit areas.
  3. Check your back doors, and seals for anything strange.
  4. Perform regular walk around checks on your vehicle noticing anything strange.
  5. If you do suspect suspicious activity, call the authorities

Cyber-Crime:

We hear a lot today about cyber-crime. I’m sure you have had a computer virus at one time or another, or an email that has a virus embedded in it. Well it’s kind of like that. Anything that is attached to a computer is at risk. Hackers can break the codes and cause havoc. Imagine a trucking company that has computer management systems, or dispatch and maintenance systems. If someone got into those systems, it could be catastrophic to the business. It literally could shut down the whole operation. The trucks and reefer systems could be shut down too if they are all connected to a main frame. The way technology is going, everything will be connected to a computer, and will be at risk. 

So, how can a company protect itself from a cyber attack? 

  1. Conduct a cyber security assessment for your company.
  2. Create a cyber security plan.
  3. Educate and train staff on scams.
  4. Have secure passwords for employee computer access points.
  5. Back up your computer systems.
  6. Install security firewalls.
  7. Have a response plan in case a cyber attack happens.

You can see there are numerous ways of preventing crime while on the road. Companies can take steps to ensure the safety of their people, and their business. Using some or all of these precautions could mean the difference of whether you are the victim of crime or not.
For more of Dana’s articles, visit Themindfultrucker.com

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