Some experts estimate the annual loss from cargo theft to be as high as $30 billion. Until recently, cargo theft laws carried minimal jail sentences, which encouraged organized crime syndicates to become actively involved. While some states are adopting new rules that match penalties to the load value of stolen cargo, many states are still using antiquated laws.
In the past, thieves targeted cargo that contained expensive items, such as electronics. Currently, the trend is to target shipments with low-value cargo, such as food, beverages, and clothing. This means that fleet managers must be vigilant in protecting their fleets from theft, no matter what cargo is being transported. They must carefully monitor their fleets whether their cargo is in transit or at rest.
Here’s how remote starter disable features and theft prevention with GPS devices can help you secure your fleet.
Cargo at rest is cargo at risk. Thieves frequently go after trucks that are stopped at rest areas, in addition to using other methods that increase the difficulty of detection. Cargo thieves have been known to:
- Provide bogus drop-offs so that shipments are redirected
- Place thieves on the inside
- Provide false documentation to distribution bases to pick up shipments
GPS Protection Features
GPS devices have been instrumental in thwarting many attempted cargo thefts. The following are some of the benefits that GPS tracking provides:
Safety and Security Alerts
Fleet managers can receive alerts notifying them immediately if a vehicle’s security has been compromised. Alerts can be customized and sent to a mobile phone or through email. Common alerts include:
- Zone Alert. Zone alerts are designed to signal when vehicles enter or exit a predefined area. Fleet managers can click and drag corners to adjust the zone’s size and position.
- Panic Alert. For emergency situations, drivers can quickly activate a discrete panic button on some GPS devices that alerts management personnel of trouble. Live map tracking systems automatically monitor the panic alerts when this feature is enabled.
- Ignition Alert. Fleet managers can choose to be notified when the ignition is off, on, or both. Drivers assigned to a vehicle can also be alerted if the ignition has been activated. Ignition alerts are typically set for 24 hours a day, but can also be changed according to need.
- Route Alert. If fleet managers are using a GPS route planner feature, and have set specified routes for their drivers, they can set geofencing corridors along that route. When set, a corridor geofence notifies management when vehicles deviate from a preassigned route. Managers determine when they wish to receive the notification; for instance, after a route deviation of 100 feet, a mile, or 5 miles.
Geofencing software uses GPS to set virtual parameters around specific areas. It is extremely helpful for fleet managers in letting them monitor when drivers leave specific routes. Geofences with triggered alerts can be set up based on specific stops, landmarks, or geographical areas defined on a map.
They can be designed with a specific radius around a single point or any shape that is created from several points. The feature allows managers to monitor truck location and how long the vehicle stops at a specific location. Geofences can stop thieves by alerting management whenever specified boundaries have been breached, or when stops are extended beyond a usual amount of time.
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Geofence alerts include:
- Fleets and cargo entering or exiting work sites
- Alerts for vehicles that are in the field, or not currently active
- Vehicle identification in restricted areas
Remote Starter Disable and Vehicle Tracking
With alert notifications, management personnel are immediately warned when a vehicle is being used without authorization, when it deviates from specified areas or routes, or when it takes excessive time at stops. All of these may signal security breaches.
These alerts allow the fleet manager to take immediate action by contacting the driver or contacting the police. Remote starter disable is a feature that allows fleet managers to shut off the vehicle’s starter remotely. When activated, if the vehicle is parked, it can no longer be operated, forcing many thieves to abandon the vehicle. GPS tracking technology pinpoints the location of stolen cargo using real-time data, greatly increasing the likelihood of recovery of the stolen cargo.
Theft Prevention and Field Assets
Trailers and heavy equipment that are unattended in the field are often the target of vandalism or theft. GPS devices can track and monitor valuable assets and heavy equipment in the field, so that fleet managers can be sure of their exact location, their status, and their security.
Cargo theft is all too common. Remote starter disable and theft prevention with GPS devices are making it more difficult for thieves to succeed in their attempts. The technology literally stops them in their tracks.