Prior to the formation of the statewide cargo theft task force, Florida suffered between $90 and $100 million dollars annually in commodities lost along the main arterial roadways, warehouses, truck stops, rail and seaports.
There was no combined effort by local, state, or federal agencies throughout Florida. There was also no organized statewide intelligence sharing system. based on the successes of the South Florida Tomcats, it was apparent that a statewide response was needed.
The Fax Alert Anti-Theft System originated in 1994 as a joint effort between the Florida Trucking Association and the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP). The purpose of the system was to provide prompt notification of high-dollar commercial vehicle and/or cargo theft incidents to the State Law Enforcement Community in Florida; namely State Troopers and DOT Motor Carrier Compliance Officers that routinely patrol the state’s major arterial routes, as well as the weight station attendants and the agricultural inspection stations.
In 2001 FHP authored and sponsored The Florida Commercial Vehicle & Cargo Theft Task Force (Voluntary Cooperation Mutual Aid Agreement). This agreement takes the burden from one agency and gives county sheriff’s offices and city police departments statewide law enforcement powers while conducting commercial vehicle and cargo theft operations.
Since 2001, the Florida Commercial Vehicle & Cargo Theft Task Force has obtained very positive results by working together several participating agencies, to include;
* The Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Compliance, now (FHP/CVE)
* The Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Division of Law Enforcement
* The Florida Department of Law Enforcement
* Florida Sheriff’s Offices
* Municipal Police Agencies
* National Insurance Crime Bureau
* Federal Bureau of Investigation
In 2002 there were 324 commercial vehicles and cargo theft incidents reported in Florida to the Fax Alert Anti-Theft System. The estimated losses resulting from these thefts totaled over 32 million dollars.
In August 2005 the Electronic Freight Theft Management System (EFTMS) became operational. This system effectively replaces the Fax Alert Anti-Theft System, allowing authorized users to generate the Fax Alert theft notices via the Internet. The system was paid for by the Florida Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Compliance, developed by the University of Central Florida, and is administered by the Florida Highway Patrol. This is a one-of-a-kind system that was developed under the direction and control of experienced cargo theft investigators with both the transportation industry and law enforcement needs in mind. The system is user friendly and offered to any industry member or law enforcement agency in the nation.
In order to operate this specialty equipment, with the assistance of COMCAR, Truck Master’s and NBI CDL Training Schools, we have sponsored several training sessions to allow our task force members (FHP, SO’s & PD’s) to obtain CDL’s.
We are continuing to respond to known high-theft areas, placing decoy trailers throughout the state of Florida. The known high-theft areas are determined through cargo thefts entered in to the Electronic Freight Theft Management System.
In 2011 there were 209 commercial vehicles and cargo theft incidents reported in Florida to the Electronic Freight Theft Management System. The estimated losses resulting from these thefts totaled over 21.4 million dollars.
Since 2002 the reported commercial and cargo thefts reported to the EFTMS have declined by 35%. We believe this is due to the efforts by the statewide task force.
•Decline in thefts/loss since the task force formation
1999-2000 631 thefts 83 million
2001 389 thefts 77 million
2002 359 thefts 61 million
2003 209 thefts 51 million
2004 245 thefts 35 million
2005 116 thefts 22 million
2006 211 thefts 23 million
2007 221 thefts 29 million
2008 291 thefts 50.9 million
2009 243 thefts 38.9 million
2010 206 thefts 27.4 million
2011 209 thefts 21.4 million
2012 ### thefts 25.5 million
Since 2002 we have coordinated one hundred and thirty commercial vehicles and cargo theft operations inside the state of Florida and one decoy operation in Georgia.
Members of the Florida Commercial Vehicle and Cargo Theft Task Force also began working national and assisted in the formation of the National Cargo Theft Task Force in December 2006.
Since 1999, over 500 individuals and organized crimes groups have been identified and/or arrested for cargo theft in Florida.