Freight crime has almost doubled on Europe’s roads in Q3 of 2015, according to recent data released by FreightWatch International
FWI, a world leader in logistics security services, indicate an 89% increase in incidents compared with the same quarter of last year, with criminals showing an increased use of violence.
443 incidents were reported to FWI during the period. 98 of these incidents came from Germany which made up nearly a quarter of all incidents in Europe, they were followed by the UK and then Belgium.
FWI said: “Whereas violent tactics were usually confined to certain countries (France, Italy, Russia, South Africa), FWI noticed a worrying trend in the third quarter of 2015. This seems to indicate that criminals are using violence even in places where it is not a usual feature of cargo theft—such as Germany, where two truck robberies were reported in which drivers were injured, or the UK, where five hijackings were reported in third quarter of 2015 alone compared with just two in the whole of 2014”
The theft of food and beverages is now the most stolen type of goods overtaking electronics, clothing and shoes were third in the list.
The majority of freight crime seems to be based on opportunity with thefts from trailers the most frequent. These incidents can occur at unsecured parking facilities and service stations, they will mostly occur at night while the driver is asleep.
The next highest category of crime was facility theft, which is basically the theft of goods from warehouses, followed by full truck loads
being stolen. The fourth position category is highjackings where 43 instances occurred, France seeing the highest number of highjacks followed by Italy and Spain.
The report highlights the increase of violent crime in the UK, during the whole of 2014 only 2 violent attacks on drivers occurred when compared to 5 attacks during the third quarter of 2015.
The FWI report says: “While there is some way to go until the UK matches countries such as Italy and Spain, this is a very worrying trend, as violence has been largely absent from the UK cargo theft scene until now.”
“In many cases, the drivers are assaulted after checking on a noise heard around their shipment, while parked in an unsecured parking area. FWI SCIC recommends avoiding unsecured parking areas or lay-bys. If no secure parking is available, park at a heavy-traffic area with CCTV and the ability to restrict access to the shipment, eg reversing close to a bollard in a hard-body trailer.”
Two incidents occurred in the North-West and three in the West Midlands, with attacks on drivers at unsecured parking areas rising in these parts of the country, a trend that will no doubt be mirrored nationwide due to the large number of unsecured parking facilities along the country’s motorways.
Interestingly while electronics are the favoured type of goods targeted by criminals across Europe, in the UK they only make up 3% of stolen goods, with household goods being targeted more.
“UK cargo criminals are stealing items that many UK citizens would normally purchase at supermarkets or similar (home & garden, clothing & shoes, food & drinks, and personal care combined were 44% of the total theft types, and 75% of single product type thefts). This risk is a unique fixture of the UK cargo theft market, and the trend appears to be solidifying as time goes on.”
This report highlights the need for more secure parking areas for lorry drivers, especially during the evening, as the increase in violent attacks is on the increase in the UK.