Pilferage and Theft

by Victor Anderes

Video camera in a checked bag? What were they thinking? This is a typical response in our industry when we hear of a passenger submitting a claim for an item of value that is missing from hold luggage. Of course it’s the passenger’s fault! Who could be so naïve as to put anything of value in their checked bag when everyone knows that items get stolen at airports?

As an industry we have become desensitised to the issue of theft from passengers. While we focus on screening of passengers, baggage and cargo to mitigate the infiltration of prohibited items, we almost ‘accept’ the perpetration of other crimes committed against passengers as long as they fall within certain statistical limits – 0.03 thefts per 1,000 passengers, hmmm…sounds like a number we can live with. Based on IATA’s passenger forecast for 2013 and using 0.03 per 1,000 as a basis, we can expect 1 million passengers to be the victim of baggage theft at a minimum for the year. Let’s be clear, this excludes those ‘lost bags’ that never seem to be found.