According to Florida Highway Patrol, cargo theft is a major concern across the state. While it does not get as much attention as trucking accidents in Miami and other cities, it is a huge problem for the industry and for truck drivers. Not only does it cause financial losses, but in some cases it can leave truckers with work injuries in Miami or other cities if they detect a theft or interrupt a crime taking place.
Virtually any product is a target for cargo thieves because virtually anything transported by truck can be sold for profit. Thieves steal full tractor trailers, take the merchandise, and leave the empty trucks in South Florida. In 2012 alone, about 130 cargo thefts were reported in the state, making Florida the second state in the country for the number of these thefts.
Thieves operate in rings or individually. The risk of getting caught is relatively low and the rewards are high if the products can be sold on the black market or can be shipped overseas for sale.
According to the National Retail Federation and FreightWatch, cargo theft can have a significant impact on customers. Stolen merchandise means that customers end up paying more because retailers and manufacturers have to make up the difference. In some cases, product lines are disrupted and customers cannot purchase a product in stores because a cargo theft means that there is a shortage, which manufacturers may or may not be able to rectify quickly.
In addition, there are risks involved in cargo theft. In cases where a truck driver intercepts a theft, he or she may suffer a variety of injuries. In addition, if customers buy these stolen products they may be injured if the products are later recalled. Regular retailers will pull unsafe toys or products from Miami or Florida shelves, but these products may still remain on the black market or be sold online if they have been stolen. Unsuspecting customers may purchase unsafe products and end up suffering injuries as a result.
In 2013, about 19 percent of all stolen merchandise was food or drink products, with metals being the second-most-frequent target of cargo thieves. About 13 percent of cargo thefts involved electronics. Electronics have a higher resale value, but they also have serial numbers, which means that stolen shipments can be tracked in some cases. Food, on the other hand is more difficult to track and is always in demand, meaning that thieves can make a profit while facing a lower risk.
FreightWatch and other groups predict that there may be fewer cargo thefts in 2014 than in previous years, in part due to greater vigilance. Tobacco and other industries have especially tightened transport security to prevent cargo theft. In addition, improved enforcement and the breaking up of some cargo theft rings in recent years may also mean fewer thefts.
If you are a truck driver who has suffered a work injury or a driver who has been injured in a trucking collision, contact Flaxman Law Group. If you have suffered an injury due to someone’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation under Florida’s laws. To find out more, consult with our full-service law firm in a free appointment.