Nearly 5,000 Cargo Thefts in Europe, Middle East, Africa in 2017

Lock on a cargo container
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There were 4,485 cargo theft incidents in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region in 2017, according to SensiGuard’s Supply Chain Intelligence Center report.

The top five countries for incidents were the United Kingdom with 1,533, Germany with 1,070, Belgium with 665, the Netherlands with 579 and South Africa with 172.

More than 90% of all thefts in the U.K. occurred in unsecured parking areas, and the region with the most incidents was East Midlands with 754, or nearly half of all thefts. In Germany, cargo theft is less concentrated in one region with Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia each accounting for about 19% of thefts and Lower Saxony for 13%.

The top modus operandi for thievery in the Europe, Middle East and Africa, or EMEA, is “curtain slashing” — where thieves cut the canvass tarp covering the side of a truck, a style more prevalent outside North America. Curtain slashing accounted for 44% of thefts, followed by pilferage at 31%, hijacking 6%, vehicle theft and facility theft each with 5%, fuel theft 4%, theft of full truckload 3% and deceptive pickup and last-mile courier each with 1%.

Reporting on the type of product stolen can be challenging. For 2017, the largest amount of thefts was either nothing stolen with 23% or unknown with 16%. The top known categories for thefts was auto and parts 15% and home and garden at 9% followed by another 12 product types.

The top days for thefts are Thursday with 779, Tuesday with 777 and Wednesday with 766. In many European countries trucks are not allowed on the road in designated areas on weekends.

Last year was the first that SensiGuard had a full-time intelligence office for the EMEA region, making comparisons with previous years difficult. In addition, reporting methodology from police officials can vary from country to country. The center cautions that cargo thefts are underreported so the total number of crimes is higher.