U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Cargo Crime

NCJ Number
J Salzano; S W Hartman
Date Published
18 pages
Cargo theft is discussed with respect to its nature and incidence in the United States and other countries and possible countermeasures.
A major increase in hijackings and theft in motor freight has occurred in the United States over the past 5 years. The FBI estimates that the nationwide cargo loss is approximately $3 billion. Other major cargo crime areas include Mexico; the Union of South Africa; and Europe, particularly Amsterdam, Netherlands. The main type of cargo crime is theft from a truck or cargo container. Definitive data are not available, because cargo crime may reported as an armed hijacking, auto theft, burglary, or larceny. In addition, manufacturers do not want to give an indication of the amount of illicit merchandise in the market, and shippers and warehouses do not want to discourage business. Truck cargo is vulnerable to theft due to its visibility, slowness, easy access, and mobility. The cargo with highest risk is that with the greatest value in the underground economy; products include computer products, perfume, prescription drugs, and aspirin. Fences have a critical influence on the types of cargoes stolen. Law enforcement agencies at different levels cooperate extensively in addressing cargo theft. Latin American and Vietnamese groups are increasingly involved in cargo crime. Actions needed to control this crime include the development of accurate and timely data, improved employee security measures, security surveys, and several other measures. Reference notes and author biographies


No download available