In this three-part blog series, we’ve been sitting down with renowned security expert J.J. Coughlin, author of “Cargo Crime”, VP at LoJack SCI and chairman of the Southwest Transportation Security Council, to learn more about a gang of thieves currently targeting LTL terminals in Texas and the Southeastern U.S. The case is still unsolved, and the thefts are ongoing: multiple LTL terminals, located in proximity to one another in smaller southeastern towns, have been victimized in a single night.
But security is an ongoing process, and in J.J.’s mind, there’s a vital ingredient to staying protected for the long-term.
Join Your Regional Cargo Theft Security Council
You mentioned you had one major recommendation for long-term protection against theft?
“I did and do, and that’s joining your regional security council. Having that network of colleagues, from both the public and private sectors, is very, very important and this case sums it up.”
How has a security council helped the police in this case?
“We had a bunch of little cities that each had a burglary report in their own jurisdiction. No one knew these cases were connected. It was only when the information got shared at security council meetings and through the council’s BOLO/Alert system that we realized the M.O.'s matched. This is a very significant theft ring. That allowed many things to happen: police started coordinating their efforts. Each jurisdiction also learned they weren’t looking for local thieves, which changes up the investigation.
While I can’t give details as this is an ongoing investigation, they’ve been able to coordinate all their investigations to a far greater degree than each jurisdiction would have on its own, due to the volume of information. Moreover, when these guys are caught they will be prosecuted for all their crimes, not just one, which means longer prison sentences and that helps everybody.”
How does a security council work?
“While all security councils have their own rules, their goals are the same: to promote a partnership between transportation security management and law enforcement to protect supply chain stakeholders from cargo theft. It’s a collaboration that allows stakeholders and law enforcement officials to share information freely in a secure environment, and communicate information that frequently results in preventing, as well as effectively prosecuting, cargo theft.”
How does a security council help the participating companies?
“Multiple ways: companies have information about theft rings that affect their terminals, and they can beef up security at potential targets. They can discuss counter security measures -- find out what’s worked and what hasn’t -- simply by talking to their peers and law enforcement. Finally, everyone benefits from prosecuting the thieves for all of their crimes — their terminals are safer long term.”
If you have a terminal or terminals in Texas or the Southeast, J.J.’s takeaways are many:
- Review your current security measures at these terminals against the modus operandi of the thieves: smaller cities, terminals in proximity to other terminals, minimal security measures such as chain link fences, locks, CCTV cameras.
- Ensure that all current security protocols are checked for functionality and are properly deployed on a nightly basis.
- Consider adding new perimeter security measures such as Electric Guard Dog electric security fence or smart cameras, both of which include alarm systems that will notify you in the event of a breach.
- Help stop cargo theft by joining your regional security council. Sharing information between companies as well as with law enforcement enables every investigation and ensures a safer environment for everyone’s business long term.
If you have an LTL terminal in the affected area and know you need more security, contact an Electric Guard Dog representative for a free site security evaluation.
And many, many thanks, J.J. Coughlin, for vital information!
J.J. Coughlin has been the VP, Law Enforcement Services & Logistics Accounts for LoJack SCI since 2007, after spending more than a decade as a regional security manager in the transportation industry and two decades as a Detective Sergeant for the Dallas Police Department. He is chairman of the Southwest Transportation Security Council and the author of “Cargo Crime: Security and Theft Prevention.”
Electric Guard Dog, LLC, the #1 Theft Deterrent Service™, is the nationwide market leader in electric security fencing. In a 2010 independent survey, 95% of their customers stated they've had NO external theft since installing Electric Guard Dog electric security fence system.
A security partner for 3,000+ commercial and industrial locations across the nation, they provide a safe and effective solution to protect businesses from cargo theft and copper theft, and a safer work environment for employees, all while reducing total security costs.