Our FOI reveals UK is in midst of a parcel theft crimewave

Have you ever been the victim of parcel theft on a personal level, or had to deal with the impact of it at work? For all the benefits of online shopping, the risk of having the item taken from the customer’s doorstep before they arrive home from work is a massive downside.

Parcel theft has a massive impact right the way across the chain: customers will be inconvenienced and potentially out of pocket if they need to purchase a replacement; retailers, delivery companies and insurers will face additional administrative burden, using additional stock if a replacement is sent and potential additional financial cost; and property managers at residential communities or office blocks will see relations with residents damaged, which could lead to them failing to renew contracts over the longer term.

But just how common is parcel theft? We recently submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to police forces up and down the UK. Right the way from Dorset up to West Yorkshire, we received data from 21 forces that charts the scale of the problem.

Parcel theft crimewave

The data shows we’re in the middle of a parcel theft crime wave, with the number of reported incidents rising almost 300% in the last three years. The pandemic gave people a taste for ordering everything from clothes to meal prep boxes to their houses, and this has proved to be a longer-term trend. Clearly criminals – porch pirates, as we like to call them – sense a growing opportunity. Kent, West Midlands and Lancashire are particular hotspots, as forces covering these areas reported the highest number of incidents over the last 12 months.

In the last 12 months, the highest number of reported thefts came in November and December, reflecting the amount of presents bought online across Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the wider festive period. This means many items ordered in the coming weeks will end up underneath a criminal’s Christmas tree, rather than your own.

Big payday for criminals

Across the UK, police data shows the average stolen parcel is worth more than £115 – meaning porch pirates will be making a lot of money. The opportunity is particularly large in the City of London, where the average stolen parcel is worth £1,128 – more than ten times the UK average. Hertfordshire Constabulary (£158,115) and Kent Police (£109,806) recorded the highest total value of stolen parcels in the last 12 months, indicating parcel theft is having a particularly large financial impact in those areas.

Police forces also reported that most parcels are stolen between 9 am and 5 pm, and the most common age of victims is 22-34-year olds. This drives home the fact that many parcels are stolen from people’s doorsteps while they’re out at work. With increasing numbers of workplaces now reverting back to office-based or hybrid policies, this presents a growing opportunity to criminals.

A secure solution

Data from police up and down the UK clearly shows parcel theft is a growing problem, so now is the time to draw a line in the sand. During the pandemic, leaving parcels on doorsteps was a workable solution, but now people are increasingly back in the office, we need a different approach. That’s where our parcel lockers can have a massive impact.

Our self-service electronic parcel lockers provide a secure location to leave parcels for recipients to collect at a time that works for them. They can really ramp up security by tracking when items have been deposited and collected, and can even capture images of the person collecting the item if required. This can dramatically cut the amount of time and money that needs to be wasted by consumers, retailers, delivery companies, insurers and property management. Until we fix the disconnect and cut the number of parcels currently being left on doorsteps, the number of thefts will only continue to grow.

You can read the full announcement in our press release here, or submit your details below to access the infographic.

Submit your details below to download the infographic