Industrial Space in St. Louis: The Importance of Secure Overnight Truck Lots

Truck Lot

How is Your Security?

There’s a lot more to property management than collecting rents, paying bills, and changing light bulbs. Something as simple as how a manager handles their parking lots could have a significant impact on your operations. Given that cargo trucks and containers are major targets for criminals, finding properties where the manager provides secure overnight truck lots is a crucial part of site selection for an industrial space in St. Louis.

Containerized cargo is behind many of the advances in global logistics. It makes it easier to handle large shipments of goods as they move across multiple modes of transportation all over the planet. However, the movement towards containerized shipping is also a gift to criminals. A single contained unit can carry thousands or millions of dollars’ worth of high-value goods. They’re easy to identify, easy to break into, and easy to hide in. Most are also easy to quickly unpack or, if sitting on trailers, to simply haul away. Ineffective property management makes it easier for this to happen.

Cargo theft is a real problem with St. Louis industrial spaces. While the FBI estimates thefts at $12 billion per year, the National Cargo Security Council estimates them at $30 billion, and the total expense including indirect costs could be as high as $60 billion. Ironically, containerization was developed in part to reduce the theft that came with shipments in break-bulk packaging.

Unfortunately, while it reduced casual crime, it created opportunities for more sophisticated criminals to get in the business of pilfering cargo. Many cargo thefts today are inside jobs that involve the collusion of both outside criminals and facility workers that have turned rogue.

Breaking down the FBI and NCSC estimates identifies some common themes. Air and rail theft isn’t a significant problem. However, 85 percent of thefts occur during truck-based ground transit. Furthermore, the majority of them don’t happen during a hijack scenario. Instead, they happen when the cargo isn’t moving. If it’s sitting in a terminal, a transfer facility or a consolidation area, it’s at risk, and those are the areas that St. Louis industrial space property management can impact.

The Role of Property Management

Effective property management practices involving secure overnight truck lots can both deter cargo theft coming from outside and theft attributed to inside jobs. Here are some of the practices that you can look for when talking to cargo facility property managers:

  • Employment screening practices. Doing basic due diligence on facility workers and contractor can help to keep criminal elements — or people that could be tempted to become criminal — out of the facility.
  • Professional security staff. Cargo facility parking lots should be secured by fully trained security guards that are equipped with the right tools for their jobs — including firearms.
  • Access control. Property management should provide systems that not only prevent unauthorized personnel from entering and leaving the facility but also tracks people’s comings and goings. Systems that include cameras or biometric identifications are even more effective.
  • Secure fenced perimeters. The National Transportation Systems Center of the federal Department of Transportation recommends 8-foot tall, 9 gauge chain link fencing with 2-foot barbed wire outriggers installed at a 45 degree slant.  The St. Louis industrial space perimeter should have as few gates as possible, be dead-bolted and be included in the site’s alarm system.

Lighting and cameras. Providing at least 2 foot-candles of light can help to deter crime, and the DOT also recommends closed circuit television feeds that record everything.

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