As a truck driver, it’s your worst nightmare. You come back to your rig and find your trailer broken into. Or taken. Or even worse: your entire rig missing. Cargo theft is a serious threat to freight haulers, and thieves are creative and relentless. They’ve been known to follow high-value cargo for hours, waiting patiently for the perfect time to strike. But if you keep in mind the following tips, and practice these prevention techniques, you can avoid becoming just another statistic.

3 Tips for Avoiding Cargo Theft

1. Recognize when the risk is highest.

  • Weekends are the most common times when truck drivers experience thefts of this kind.
  • If your trailer is parked for 24 hours or longer in an empty lot, it gives thieves plenty of time to break in and get away before you can discover and report the crime.
  • Certain states seem to pose more of a threat than others. Cargo thefts are most commonly reported in California, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Illinois, and Georgia. But don’t let your guard down if you’re traveling elsewhere. When it comes to cargo theft, it could happen anytime, any place.
  • Realize that there’s more of a market for certain shipped items than others. High-value cargo includes food and beverages, cigarettes and alcohol, clothing, housewares, metals, and pharmaceuticals. But there’s a black market for just about any heisted product, so don’t consider yourself safe if you’re not freighting goods considered to be of higher value.

2. Be constantly aware of your surroundings.

  • Carrier terminals and rest stops with poor lighting and an absence of locked fencing, working surveillance cameras and after-hours security are prime theft locations. If you don’t know the security measures taken by the facility, ask someone in charge. And move to a more secure location whenever possible.
  • Don’t make it easy for the bad guys. Never leave your truck and trailer idling for long in rest stops — and it doesn’t take long for your truck to disappear.

3. Take proactive action to protect your cargo.

  • Fuel up before you pick up your load. That will enable you to drive for a couple hundred miles before having to stop, which will deter cargo thieves from following your trailer.
  • Back up against a wall or other blocking surface when you stop.
  • Secure your trailer with the best in kingpin locks, gland locks, or the sturdiest padlocks.
  • Use the latest GPS tracking and geofencing technology to keep track of your rig.
  • Try to make delivery before the weekend. The less time your rig sits with its cargo, the better.

Take these sensible prevention measures and you’ll greatly increase your odds of keeping your cargo safe and your delivery on time and crisis-free.