I interviewed JJ Coughlin who discussed Cargo Theft: Prevention and Raising Awareness.



1.) Please provide a quick description of yourself


My name is JJ Coughlin, currently Vice President of Law Enforcement Services for LoJack Supply Chain Integrity and Chairman of the Southwest Transportation Security Council. I retired from the Dallas, Texas Police Department in 1997 and went to work as the Southwest Region Manager of Security, including five states and Mexico, for a full service transportation and logistics company. I worked across the entire enterprise, which included a cargo airline, freight forwarding business, 3PL, two LTL companies and a full Truckload group. After ten years, I came over to LoJack Supply Chain Integrity, where I have worked for the last six years.


2.) What is Cargo Theft?


Cargo Theft has a lengthy statutory definition we could talk about but for the sake of brevity, let’s go with this:  “Cargo theft is the unauthorized taking of property from shipments or storage by acts of theft, robbery, burglary or fraud while they are in-transit from the manufacturer to the final end user”


3.) How can it be prevented and how can awareness be raised about this problem?


Cargo Theft prevention is very doable if you understand the risks and build your transportation security program based on that knowledge. In other words, having awareness about the methods of operations of both organized and opportunistic cargo thieves, understanding what products they target, how they target them, when they are most likely to strike and where the known cargo theft hot spots are allows one to build a very efficient prevention program. Processes and protocols can overcome most of the obstacles and building a layered security program based on known risks make success easily reachable.  Raising awareness both in the industry and out and with law enforcement is a key. Sharing information about this crime through industry and public venues with continuing outreach to law enforcement is a good first step in raising awareness.


4.) Can you talk about using industry councils and law enforcement networking to build response networks?


Yes, if any crime has ever shouted out for federal law enforcement response, cargo theft is the poster child. In almost every case, when cargo theft occurs, within minutes the stolen property is in a different police jurisdiction and usually moving quickly across state lines. Unfortunately, due to mandates and thresholds, federal law enforcement response to cargo theft has been very limited. Because of this fact, the industry has had to build their own response networks using state and local law enforcement resources that are tasked with working commercial auto theft or other specialized investigation units. There are currently only seven Cargo Theft Task Force units across the US. The industry councils have developed email BOLO/Alert system to report cargo theft to the correct law enforcement personnel across the country and sponsor law enforcement trainings about the cargo crime. These training events enhance law enforcement and industry networking and has become a model of public/private cooperation with net positives for all participants.


Anyone in the business of moving freight or having freight moved should be involved in the information sharing, at least one of the regional transportation councils and the Supply Chain – Information Sharing and Analysis Center or other cargo theft intelligence portals so they can have a full awareness of the risks, have access to a great network of law enforcement and other resources so that they have a qualified force multiplier for their transportation security program and response plan.


About JJ Coughlin



JJ Coughlin



Chairman at Southwest

Transportation Security Council

LinkedIn Profile