I interviewed Daniel Ekwall who discussed Seasonality of Cargo Theft at Transport Chain Locations.





Daniel, this is going to be another interesting interview, Seasonality of Cargo Theft Transport Chain Locations.


Yes. Thank you again for inviting me. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you about these things. Today, we’ll talk about seasonality and that’s an interesting phenomena. Everybody is doing researching in criminology. Knows they are different free crusading for the impacts from different crimes when it comes to time of year, time of week, time of day, and so on. So, in this case we try to utilize all the knowledge that is developing in criminology and try to put into cargo theft risk in road transport for mainly to see what these theories in criminology put forward about seasonality.


Can you talk about the paper that you published about this topic?


Yes. It’s a paper we published. I think it was 2013 in the International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, which is a good journal in the field of logistics. In that paper we utilized the TAPA EMEA, IIS data which contains roughly over 20,000 unique reported cargo theft incidents which means real cargo theft incidents. The problem is that if the incidents are considered to be too small when comes to impact, it’s not reported into the system if nobody wants to report it, it also is not reported into the system. Nevertheless, even Europe put forward this database as being the most reliable in E.U. when it comes to understanding this problem.


With that said, we looked into the cargo theft as seasonality effects from a risk perspective which means that we have a frequency focus, and we have an impact focus, both of these. We need to understand if the frequencies change, if the impacts change because the combination of impact and frequency is, as everybody in risk understands is the risk. We did find something really interesting is that when it comes to seasonality on year which we actually expected, thanks to the theories in criminology, that we would have an increase in number of property-related crimes, which is basically what cargo thefts is about.


We expected an increase in winter with non-violent and we expect an increase in summer time with violent behavior. That goes directly back to criminology theories. We didn’t really find the increase with the times. We did find it. The very issue was only on frequency. We didn’t find any variation basically in impact and that leads to the conclusion that if you talk about seasonality time of year, it’s the number of crimes that changes, not how and what they are targeting.


If we look into time of week, there is the--understand that you have different attack modes when it comes to time of week. Monday to Friday’s working days, Saturday’s and Sunday’s is free time for the companies, normally, which means that that we would expect--let’s say an increase in frequency over the weekends because then most of the trucks are standing still and that’s called a facility. That’s what we expected from that point of view. We didn’t find that.


We did, however, find an increase in frequency when it comes to the less protected areas which means the non-secure parkings and the on route locations which is between facilities. That’s we did find a frequency and change but not any value or impact change. So, basically, again, it falls back to the same conclusion is that, it’s the number of attacks that differs. Not how and when and where they are done]. They are slightly the same which means that you have a number of perpetuate is that it goes back to a preferred modus operandi and they attack like a preferred location and a preferred ratio when it comes to when time of year wiser they attack.


What was--Unfortunate, in this data was that we couldn’t really pinpoint the time of day because if we look into other research from the International Road Haulers Union, think it was published in 2007, it’s that the interview started talking to the intrude the number of drivers and that tried to pinpoint where time of day wise. The risk was as high as or the most attack. That started pointed out that main--the main time of day work for thefts is after ten in the evening and before six in the morning. Basically, the higher likelihood that the truck is extra standing still. And, that’s actually not surprising just common sense for one point of view.


Unfortunately, in our research from the TAPA EMEA IIS database, we couldn’t double check that. The quality of the data in the IIS database was too low also we couldn’t do that check and that was, unfortunately. But, I think that when it comes to the, at least the non-violent crime, see that the spread for time of day. For the violent crimes, you need someone to track them and they knew we said the opposite instead because you need to threaten someone at work which means basically during working hours instead.


What about the outcome? How do you assess these conclusions?


As this one of the first where we actually utilized this amount of data from one source and--which is looking into it in this way and the--also, I have a background in the industry and lots of connections that’s what I’ve lost in discussiions about this outcome. What was surprisingly, to me, from a practical background was that we couldn’t really see the Christmas effect which is talked about in security industry. We have an increasing problem in mainly October, November, maybe the first week in December for this activity referred more to that thieves steal in Christmas steal the products so they can sell it before Christmas which also in this case would lead to that you would have a drop in problems directly after Christmas. We couldn’t really see this in this research which was little bit surprising because I did expect that, actually. We actually saw and interesting phenomenal, we called it the reduction during the December. So, the December effect total reduction of crimes in December and that was really unexpected.


Thanks again, Daniel, for sharing this important topic.


Yeah, thank you again. For everybody who wants to read more detail, you can find it in the paper. It’s publicly linked to the journal so it’s International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management and so on. And, if you email me, I can provide you with a copy.




About Daniel Ekwall






Daniel Ekwall

Associate Professor In Supply Chain Management at Hanken

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