TORONTO—The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is extending its Cargo Theft Reporting program across the country to a bid to tackle the growing problem that costs an estimated $5-billion annually.
Launched in Ontario and Quebec in 2011 in conjunction with the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), the program that allows insurers and trucking association members to report cargo theft online will be expanded throughout the rest of the country as law enforcement agencies, insurance companies and industry stakeholders look to crack down on the crime.
“This expanded and improved reporting process will help prevent crimes and lead to faster recovery of stolen goods and prosecution of cargo theft criminals,” IBC Investigative Services national director Garry Robertson said in a statement.
Insurers and association members from across the country will now be able to report cargo thefts directly to IBC through an online submission form, with the IBC acting as a self-described “clearing house for cargo theft data.”
The IBC said it will collect, analyze and share information it gathers with a national network of law enforcement partners including Canadian and American border agencies.
Law enforcement agencies can also ask IBC to search the database to help identify and recover property.
“To fight cargo theft, we must be as organized as the criminals,” Robertson said.
A 2011 study commissioned by the CTA linked cargo theft to organized crime groups.
The association said stolen items are usually consumer goods like clothing and electronics.
“Society can no longer view cargo crime as being victimless,” CTA president and chief executive David Bradley said.
“It is exacting a huge toll, running into billions of dollars, on the Canadian economy and threatens the security of all Canadians.”
According to Robertson of the IBC, a recent example of cargo theft saw a tractor-trailer loaded with t-shirts stolen north of Toronto around 3 a.m.
By 6 a.m. some of the t-shirts were already for sale at stores in the Georgian Bay area, and by 9 a.m. the rest were on another truck crossing the Peace Bridge into New York.
Robertson said the load was heading to Los Angeles with a final destination of India.
The reporting of cargo theft is sporadic, with some companies failing to report crimes for fear of damaged reputations, negative impacts on business and customer confidence, and increased insurance premiums.