Cargo theft program launches in Western Canada

Expansion includes a new national database

EDMONTON, Dec. 8, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), along with law enforcement and provincial trucking associations in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba announced that the highly successful cargo theft reporting program currently operating in Eastern Canada is expanding to the four western provinces. According to the Canadian Trucking Alliance, 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.

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.

Bill Adams, Vice-President, Western & Pacific, IBC, said, "Cargo theft is a serious crime. 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." 

Today IBC announced the launch of a new national database with an improved feature, which is available to all insurance companies and members of all provincial trucking associations across Canada. Strategic partners can immediately submit cargo loss details to IBC through an online form on www.ibc.ca. 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.   

Historically, cargo theft has often gone unreported. Unfortunately it can be easily overlooked due to the many different parts of the transportation process. That is why, in 2014, IBC teamed up with the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) 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.

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.

To learn more about cargo theft and other types of insurance crime, visit www.ibc.ca.

Quotes

"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. By adding a new element to an already successful program, we will see greater success and ability to recover stolen property faster."
     Garry Robertson, IBC's National Director, Auto Theft and Vehicle Services,
     Investigative Services Division

"We need to address the growing problem of cargo theft in this region. It is a major issue across Canada affecting our economy, local businesses, our livelihood, and local trucking companies. Truck transportation is the number one method of moving goods across Western Canada and it is imperative that we collaborate as a team and develop strategies to solve this problem." 
     Dan Duckering, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Alberta Motor Transport Association

"The Saskatchewan Trucking Association fully endorses IBC's lead in combatting cargo crime, which costs industry and consumers more than $5 billion annually. Theft of truck cargo is not a victimless crime; it costs us all through higher consumer prices, higher taxes for law enforcement and investigation, not to mention higher insurance premiums. This industry partnership with IBC is yet another step toward bringing more awareness of the crime and putting greater emphasis on its elimination."
     Al Rosseker, Executive Director, Saskatchewan Trucking Association

"Cargo crime is a multi-faceted problem in the trucking industry, costing consumers billions and posing a significant threat to safety of the drivers. The Manitoba Trucking Association supports this program and it's integrated approach.  By working with law enforcement and raising awareness industry is better equipped to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to understanding trends in cargo crime."
     Terry Shaw, Executive Dir Manitoba Trucking Association

"The British Columbia Trucking Association supports the cargo theft program not only as a valuable resource for recovering stolen goods, but also as a deterrent to the criminals who practice it. The safety of truck drivers, the relationships between carriers and their customers, and reasonable costs of business and for consumers are all at risk if cargo theft continues unchecked."
     Louise Yako, President & CEO, British Columbia Trucking Association

"Reporting crime as soon as possible is one of the most effective ways to solve and prevent further incidents. 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."
     Staff Sergeant Kristie Verheul, Calgary Police Service Economic Crimes Unit

"Cargo theft is not just a problem for trucking companies and manufacturers; it affects consumers and puts a strain on law enforcement agencies. In order to effectively combat this growing issue, we are pleased to see the expansion of this successful program to Western Canada."
     Superintendent Mark Neufeld, Edmonton Police Service

Background

Cargo theft involves a sophisticated network of criminals who commit the thefts and distribute the stolen goods. The stolen goods are usually items that people use on a daily basis, such as laundry detergent, T-shirts, dry goods and electronic components. Well organized systems are in place to move the products for quick sale in the underground economy. Often the products are parcelled out and sold well before the theft is reported. A thriving black market keeps sophisticated and networked thieves in business.

The reporting of cargo theft has been sporadic, which makes property recovery and prosecution a challenge. Although some trucking companies do report their losses, others do not for fear of a damaged reputation, a negative impact on their business and customer confidence, and increased insurance premiums. When losses are not reported, stolen property cannot be identified or recovered, and thieves are not prosecuted.

The Cargo Theft Initiative began as a pilot reporting project in 2011 in Ontario and Quebec. Working with CTA and member companies, IBC collected, analyzed and shared cargo loss information with law enforcement agencies. The project was an important first step in gathering consistent information on these crimes and led to several recoveries of stolen trailers and consumer goods.

IBC urges citizens to report cargo theft. Anyone witnessing a crime should immediately call the local police. 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. 

Benefits of new national database

  • 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
  • Aligns very well with the Ports Program currently in place with Canada Border Services Agency and will complement their efforts in identifying and seizing stolen property
  • Provides access to cargo theft information outside of regular business hours for authorized stakeholders
  • Provides improved and flexible reporting capabilities.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 118,000 Canadians, pays $6.7 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $48 billion.  

For media releases and more information, visit IBC's Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau and @IBC_West or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information: To schedule an interview, please contact: Ariella Kimmel, Manager, Media Relations, IBC, 416-362-2031 ext. 4313 (office), akimmel@ibc.ca

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