Cargo theft has been around for centuries, from robbers attacking merchants on trading roads to pirates seizing ships at sea to bandits on horseback robbing stagecoaches.
Unfortunately, crimes of this nature have evolved along with cargo transportation methods. Trucks, railcars, and sea containers have replaced horse-drawn carriages, and today’s bandits are organized into international crime syndicates.
However, today we have a complex social construct compounded by covid, supply chain disruptions, food supply concerns, and rising inflation that has not been seen since Ronald Reagan was president. At 7% inflation the country’s cost of living index will have major consequences fueling an already volatile environment with so many variables at play around the world.
As a result, we now see an alarming 160% increase of railcar thefts in LA County, leaving train tracks littered with debris. Union Pacific, one of the country’s largest Class I railroad companies, now says it may avoid operating in L.A. County following the spike in thefts, which it blames on lax prosecution of crimes. According to Union Pacific, Individuals are released from custody within 24 hours.
In its letter to the LA district attorney Union Pacific indicated it has made over 100 arrests of criminal activity vandalizing its trains. In the United States and Canada, railroad police are employed by the major Class I railroads, as well as some smaller ones. They are responsible for the protection of railroad properties, facilities, revenue, and personnel, as well as carried passengers and cargo.