Catching criminal activity can be a long and strenuous process. Recently, after a multi-year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in collaboration with various state and local police forces, eight men have been indicted on charges of interstate cargo theft. Traveling to more than nine states, it is estimated over $17.5 million of merchandise was stolen through the organized crime of these eight men.
The group appears to have worked by surveying distribution facilities in order to identify certain trucks for their target, and then following the truck until the driver stopped to rest or refuel. Once the driver was out of view, the thieves would quickly empty the truck, or steal the entire tractor-trailer.
According to FreightWatch International’s U.S. Annual Cargo Theft Report, thieves are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their crimes, as demonstrated by the eight men detained by the FBI. Although the actual number of thefts has fallen in recent years, the value of stolen goods has increased with food, drink and electronics topping the list at a combined percentage of 35 percent of common stolen cargo in the United States. Criminals are getting better at selecting high-value targets.
Most of these crimes happen while the truck is stationary and unattended, while no one is watching.
But, is there a way to provide surveillance of loads even when the driver is unavoidably elsewhere?
With a GPS tracking system, carriers can prevent theft and recover their assets remotely, even while drivers are away.
Teletrac offers a simple solution for fleet owners to monitor and track their assets in real-time, immediately detecting any wrongful use with its geo-fencing and alerts features.
Geo-fencing allows fleet owners to create invisible perimeters around a location where their vehicle is designated to operate. If a vehicle leaves, enters, or commits other activity around this zone, fleet owners can view activity in real-time on their interactive map from the comfort of their office.
This, however, does not mean all eyes in the office should be glued to a computer screen all day watching their fleet in an effort to catch poor driver behavior or theft. By configuring the geo-fence feature to an alerts tool, fleet managers and other office personnel responsible for particular vehicles can be immediately updated via SMS and email about vehicle-related action, including speeding, idling, and unauthorized vehicle use.
This tool can be further configured to define hours of use per vehicle. Fleet managers can set certain time periods for vehicle operation. When a vehicle is used outside of an authorized timeframe, Teletrac’s GPS tracking system will send an automatic alert to the fleet manager.
These features are helpful tools to find thieves and bring them to justice, just as one Teletrac customer recently accomplished. Additionally, GPS tracking systems can pose as possible deterrents to future criminals as the technology becomes more and more commonplace in the industry. More importantly, time is of the essence in these situations. Especially since almost 20% of stolen cargo last year was food and drink—all perishable items if not cared for properly.
By closing off avenues to crime, Teletrac’s GPS system provides fleet managers with peace of mind and makes it easy for carriers to focus on business, rather than theft and security.
*About the author: Marco Encinas is a Marketing and Product Manager at Teletrac. He is an expert in the GPS fleet and asset tracking field.