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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78077 Find in a Library
Title: Mafia Detergent, Shoes That Evaporate, and Bricks for San Juan (From Cargo Security - Hearing, P 80-87, 1980 - See NCJ-78075)
Author(s): J Volz
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 8
Type: Legislative/Regulatory Material
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The scope and methods of marine cargo theft and approaches for countering such theft are discussed.
Abstract: Senator Alan Bible, Chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, reports that thievery, pilferage, hijacking, and unexplained loss of cargo runs from $1.5 billion to $2.8 billion each year for the entire transportation industry, and notes that indirect costs for processing claims, paperwork, reduction in goods for sale, loss of profit dollars, disruption of production lines, and loss of customer goodwill bring the total cost to an estimated $8 to $10 billion annually. A common pattern for theft is organized crime's use of shipping employees to do the stealing, often for payment to loansharks or to support drug habits. The stolen merchandise is then sold through 'fences' or channels of legitimate business. The theft problem is compounded by shipping management's indifference to improved security measures and lax reporting of losses, often in fear of Mafia retaliation or increased insurance costs. Theft prevention is viewed as the only realistic approach to countering cargo theft. The primary prevention thrust began in 1971, when the Assistant Treasury Secretary announced a program based on (1) cargo accountability, (2) improved security, and (3) national standards for licensing and personnel identification. The cargo accountability program is intended to produce statistics that will enable Customs officials to identify the types and values of goods most coveted by criminals. This has been hampered, however, by a lack of systematic reporting of losses. Customs has established security standards for the handling and storage of international cargo, but until private industry is willing to comply with these standards, little progress can be made. Suggestions in the area of personnel identification are to (1) require identification badges for each employee, (2) require employees to enter and leave the premises through a single personnel door or gate, and (3) periodically remind all employees of the penalties for theft. Many technological advances in alarm systems and other devices are also recommended for increasing security. Forty-seven references are provided.
Index Term(s): Cargo security; Crime specific countermeasures; Federal government; Organized crime
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