FBI’s Data Collection on Cargo Theft Poor

June 21, 2012

Marine underwriters said the Federal Bureau of Investigation has failed in its efforts to collect data on cargo theft and offered suggestions to improve information gathering from law enforcement agencies and private industry.

Commenting on proposed revisions to current collection rules, the American Institute of Marine Underwriters (AIMU) and the Inland Marine Underwriters Association (IMUA) said that any data now being compiled is “woefully inadequate and incomplete.” From the perspective of the marine insurance industry, “the designed system and its form have been a failure,” said the June 11th letter to the unit chief of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division.

The marine underwriters described cargo theft as a “very serious threat to the national economy and its citizens,” creating a black/grey market in which companies compete against their own brands; stolen pharmaceutical products are adulterated or allowed to deteriorate posing serious health risks; and money is laundered through illegal sales of stolen goods, providing funds for criminal/gang activities as well as potential funding for terrorism.

Although the FBI is mandated to collect cargo theft data, state and local law enforcement agencies are not now required to report cargo theft incidents to the national Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

The marine associations stressed that cargo crime simply cannot be a subset of UCR reports, but must be a standalone category to ensure accuracy and effectively determine the most productive allocation of manpower and equipment to combat it.

The intelligence gathered also would assist local law enforcement agencies in addressing a variety of other related criminal activities, the AIMU and IMUA said.

They further observed that allowing for input from private sector data collection groups including marine insurers and transportation and pharmaceutical industry based security associations would help the FBI to obtain required cargo theft information more accurately and timely.

Source: Insurance Information Insitute

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