December 8, 2015 by Canadian Underwriter
The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), along with law enforcement and provincial trucking associations in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, announced on Tuesday that the “highly successful” cargo theft reporting program currently operating in Eastern Canada is expanding to the four western provinces.
The expansion includes the launch of a new national database, which is available to all insurance companies and members of all provincial trucking associations across Canada, IBC said in a press release. With the database, strategic partners can immediately submit cargo loss details to IBC through an online form. The information is then added to a cargo notice report that is distributed to local and national law enforcement, including Canadian and American border agencies. The new database allows for the capture and storage of cargo theft data received from insurance and trucking industry sources and provides 24/7 access for law enforcement agencies.
“This new cargo theft database allows for direct access and prompt response to requests for information pertaining to cargo theft from a variety of authoritative partners, particularly law enforcement agencies,” said Garry Robertson, IBC’s national director, auto theft and vehicle services, Investigative Services Division. “By adding a new element to an already successful program, we will see greater success and ability to recover stolen property faster.”
According to the IBC, the benefits of the database include the following, among others:
• Assists IBC strategic partners in identifying and recovering stolen cargo, tractors and trailer units in a timely and expeditious manner;
• Provides the IBC crime analysts the ability to identify trends, to prevent and detect cargo crime, and ultimately assist in the prosecution of those involved;
• Facilitates the extraction of information to assist with reporting and tracking the success of the program particularly with regard to tracking recoveries;
• Provides access to cargo theft information outside of regular business hours for authorized stakeholders; and
• Provides improved and flexible reporting capabilities.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance said that the “rapidly escalating crime of cargo theft is costing Canadians up to $5 billion a year and is a significant problem in transportation hubs in Western Canada, southern Ontario and Montreal.”
But the effects of cargo theft reach beyond its direct impact on the Canadian economy. Cargo that is stolen and sold in illegal markets shifts revenues from legitimate businesses to criminals and depletes tax revenues. There is also the potential for violence in perpetrating cargo crime, putting the well-being of truck drivers and other industry employees at risk, IBC reported.
“Cargo theft is a serious crime,” said Bill Adams, vice president, Western & Pacific, IBC, in the release. “It is costing the Canadian economy billions of dollars and can be dangerous. The cargo theft initiative brings together the many different parts of the transportation system to help curb this type of criminal activity, protect people in our communities and save Canadians money.”
Historically, cargo theft has often gone unreported and “it can be easily overlooked due to the many different parts of the transportation process,” the release noted. “That is why, in 2014, IBC teamed up with the Canadian Trucking Alliance to launch the Cargo Theft Initiative. This initiative aims to raise awareness of the dangers and costs associated with cargo theft, and to assist in the recovery of stolen goods.”
Last summer, the cargo theft reporting database – the heart of the program – facilitated communication between insurance companies and law enforcement, leading to a police raid. As a result, the owners of approximately $1.4 million in stolen goods were identified, the release said.
To date, this program has launched in Ontario and Atlantic Canada and has seen great success. “More and more often, individuals are being reunited with their stolen goods, saving consumers money.”
Staff Sergeant Kristie Verheul of the Calgary Police Service’s Economic Crimes Unit, added that “by knowing where and when criminals are active, we’re able to investigate and do the analysis required to catch and charge those responsible and help prevent further incidents. With insurers, truckers and police working together, we are helping to make cargo shipments travelling in this province safer and more secure.”