Highway robberies of commercial cargo trucks soared by nearly 180% between 2014 and 2016, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down.
Not only is the crime becoming more frequent, it is becoming more violent. Fifteen years ago 84% of those robberies were at gunpoint; the percentage is now 94%.
According to data provided by the Mexican Association of Private Security, Information, Tracking and Applied Intelligence (Amsiria), the consequences of increased robbery for the industry have been disastrous: an estimated 550 billion pesos (close to US $30 billion) are lost in stolen merchandise every year.
The most popular products are food and beverages followed by fuel and industrial and construction goods. On a lower scale, trucks carrying auto parts, appliances, chemicals, tobacco, clothing and shoes, drugs and alcoholic beverages, among other products, are also targeted.
Along with the cargo the trucks and trailers themselves are also sought after, particularly in Michoacán, Guerrero and Sinaloa, where organized crime has a strong presence.
In over two-thirds of cases, the most common modus operandi for robbing a truck consists of blocking its passage while in transit, using other vehicles or by mounting fake police checkpoints. Fourteen per cent of robberies take place within the client’s premises and 7% occur when the driver stops to rest, eat, take on fuel or perform mechanical repairs.
According to the online news site The Insight, in 70% of cargo truck robberies an employee of the transportation company was involved.
Technology gave transportation companies the advantage for a time but criminals have the upper hand once more. Satellite tracking made locating stolen trucks an easy task, but criminals can now use frequency jammers to conceal them.
Now, new GPS tracking systems can alert when a jammer is interfering, warning operators and triggering safety measures that can include listening or watching what’s going on in the driver’s seat and warning authorities.
Source: El Contribuyente (sp)