There’s another threat to cargo, and we’re all wearing it
In the popular Spanish series “Casa de Papel” (“Money Heist”), a group of savvy criminals takes over Madrid’s currency printing facility wearing red jumpsuits and Salvador Dali masks. They force their hostages to wear identical costumes so that law enforcement can’t differentiate between the victims and the perpetrators, giving them the perfect cover to commit their crime. When the series was first released in 2017, no one could have imagined that the fictional scenario would become a global reality. Although not quite as eye-catching as jumpsuits and Dali masks, the Covid-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented criminal opportunity. With most of the population now wearing surgical or other masks to protect themselves from the virus, it has become easier than ever for criminals to cover their actions and blend into the crowd.
Covid-19 has already increased the risk for cargo crime
As discussed in our previous blog post, the global Corona-virus crisis could lead to a major increase in cargo crime.
In that post, we talk about several factors that can lead to this increase, including mass layoffs, unpredictable shipping, delays, tracking issues, and more.
However, we’ve recently identified another major factor related to Corona-virus, that could significantly increase the risk of cargo crime even further.
Surgical masks means we can’t identify ANYONE
Before Covid-19, masks were often synonymous with crime and lawlessness.
“Being anonymized has always been associated with more deviant and criminal behavior,” Bryanna Fox, a former FBI Agent, told a DC-area radio station. “People who wear masks feel more enabled and empowered to do things that they normally wouldn’t have done if their face was seen in public.”
Robert Kahn, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis who has studied Americans’ attitudes toward masks said, “Courts have often argued that someone wearing a mask is more likely to steel up the courage to commit a crime.”
In fact, in some areas, concealing your identity by wearing a mask is a crime in and of itself. In the United States alone, over 15 states have outlawed wearing masks in public, mainly in response to racial crimes committed by the Klu Klux Klan, who famously hide their faces with white hoods.
However as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, people are being advised (and often required) by the authorities to wear medical masks to protect themselves and others from getting infected by (or infecting) others with Covid-19.
No one’s being penalized for wearing a mask, and opportunistic thieves are already capitalizing on that.
In the USA, Corona-related mask regulations are coming into direct conflict with law enforcement’s ability to combat crime, even as armed robberies surge in California.
In short, the need for masks to protect our health has become an opportunity for criminals.
Stopping cargo crime is all about mitigation and prevention
When criminals can easily disappear into the crowd, the best way to prevent loss from theft is to catch them in the act. Cargo theft led to billions of dollars of losses every year even before the pandemic, and now, with the economic downturn, the numbers are expected to rise. Moreover, losing goods to crime has a negative impact on brands. For brands that are already struggling during the pandemic, a loss of goods could become a death knell. Preventing theft is more critical than ever.
If a theft has already taken place, simple security cameras won’t be of much help when the entire population is masked. However, there are other tools available. Using advanced AI and IoT, Contguard helps companies pinpoint the exact location of the breach, allowing cargo owners and insurance companies to identify the service provider responsible for the cargo at that point in time.
When companies are alerted to possible threats in real-time, they can escalate the situation immediately. For example, advanced tracking devices immediately notify companies about any deviations from planned routes, or changes in movement, light or humidity of their cargo. Companies can then notify authorities in real time, before the criminals have the opportunity to disappear. Contguard tracks package movement, light and humidity in real time, and offers a 24/7 escalation service to help companies activate local law enforcement when it counts.
Companies can also use aggregated data to identify patterns and trends, and avoid hotspots where criminal gangs are active or where there is an increased risk of theft. Entire routes can be benchmarked and rated dynamically for their cargo security score. Contguard’s experts also work with customers to generate insights and recommendations based on its innovative analytics platform. These tools can be critical in keeping goods safe during such an uncertain time.
Contguard’s cargo tracking and monitoring technology could be a deterrent to cargo crime
A significant amount of cargo crimes rely on inside information from different people throughout the supply chain. As a result, the security measures offered by Contguard often act as a deterrent to this type of crime, similar to the way a security (or guard dog) sign on a home acts as a deterrent to criminals.
Contguard is here to help you prevent cargo crime
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit companies with a plethora of threats and risks, like dealing with a masked population. In order to succeed in these challenging times, companies must be proactive and utilize cutting technologies to mitigate risk.
We’re here to help you get through this— contact us.