Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) are joining forces, supported by four large Ontario police services, to launch a national program to fight cargo theft. The rapidly escalating crime is costing Canadians up to $5 billion a year and is a significant problem in transportation hubs in southern Ontario, and in Vancouver and Montreal.
IBC and CTA will expand the current Cargo Theft Reporting pilot program, which is now in Ontario and Quebec, across Canada, so that the trucking community, insurers and the authorities can better share timely information to help crack down on cargo theft.
All insurers in Canada and trucking association members can now report cargo thefts directly to IBC via an online submission form. IBC will act as a clearing house for cargo theft data, and will collect, analyze and promptly share information with a national network of law enforcement partners including Canadian and American border agencies. Law enforcement can ask IBC to search the database to help identify property and to speed its recovery.
“This expanded and improved reporting process will help prevent crimes and lead to faster recovery of stolen goods and prosecution of cargo theft criminals,” said Garry Robertson, National Director of IBC’s Investigative Services.
A 2011 study commissioned by CTA, which pegged the cost of cargo crime at $5 billion per year, also linked it to organized crime rings, which use the proceeds of cargo theft to fund such activities as gun and drug smuggling. Cargo crime covers a number of criminal acts including theft, fraud and hijacking.
To highlight the sophisticated nature of organized cargo theft, IBC’s Robertson gives the recent example of a tractor-trailer load of T-shirts. The trailer was stolen at 3 a.m. north of Toronto and by 6 a.m. some shirts were for sale at discount stores in small towns on Georgian Bay. By 9 a.m., the rest were on another truck crossing the Peace Bridge bound for Los Angeles with a final destination of India.
“To fight cargo theft, we must be as organized as the criminals,” Robertson says.
“Society can no longer view cargo crime as being victimless,” said David Bradley, President and CEO of Canadian Trucking Alliance. “It is exacting a huge toll, running into billions of dollars, on the Canadian economy and threatens the security of all Canadians. The development of Insurance Bureau of Canada’s nationwide cargo crime database is an essential tool for recovery of stolen freight and equipment, apprehending the criminals, developing and implementing appropriate countermeasures and quantifying the scope of the problem.”
Peel Regional Police Superintendent Bob Devolin said, “Cargo theft is not just a problem for trucking companies and manufacturers; it affects consumers and puts a strain on law enforcement agencies. We will continue to have a close working relationship with our law enforcement partners, IBC and CTA to recover stolen goods and fight back against this costly crime. Cargo theft is a sophisticated and organized enterprise, and we take this crime very seriously.”
IBC urges citizens to report cargo theft. Anyone with general information that would assist in combating cargo theft can call IBC’s confidential 1-877-IBC-TIPS line (1-877-422-8477) or go online at www.ibc.ca to fill out a tip form that can be sent to IBC anonymously.