Top 5 Scary Facts About Package Theft and How to Prevent It
9 Min Read
Written by: Parcel Pending
Updated May 3, 2023
Do you know what’s scary? The fact that an estimated 23 million Americans have had at least one package stolen from their front porches or mailboxes1.
Tune into your local news network and you’ll surely see video footage of what’s known as “porch pirates,” or package thieves, stealing packages in plain sight off doorsteps across the nation. With 77% of consumers now wanting their online shopping purchases delivered to their homes2, and what is poised to be a record year for holiday shopping on the horizon3, the package theft problem isn’t likely to go away any time soon.
Porch theft is a common crime because porch pirates don’t have to be particularly skillful, as most packages are left in plain sight on a resident’s porch. If you want to learn how to deter package thieves, prevent package theft, and reduce crime in your community, it may be a good idea for your community to invest in a parcel delivery system, such as smart parcel lockers.
Read on to find out about some important package theft statistics, get some package theft prevention strategies, and learn more about the benefits of using a smart parcel locker solution to effectively prevent package theft by a porch pirate in your community.
Package Theft Statistics
Here are the top five scary facts about package mail theft and how to prevent it:
#1 It’s more common than you think
Porch pirating is a massive issue across the United States. From March to July 2020, 1 in 5 Americans reported a stolen package. And the majority of package theft – 40% – occurs in an apartment building or community. A package theft victim loses an average of $106 to porch piracy, with 30% reporting not receiving any financial compensation for their loss. And unfortunately, less than half of Americans report that their package thief was caught by the police4.
#2 Consumers will go to great lengths to ensure the safe delivery of their packages
According to a 2017 Shorr Packaging Corp. survey, 53% of respondents said they changed their plans so they could be home to receive a package from a delivery person even though the delivery instructions didn’t require a signature upon delivery.
The survey also revealed that 20% of people would leave work early if they were expecting a delivery5. Enlisting a trusted neighbor can help in some cases, as they are able to monitor for and accept deliveries on your behalf. However, this delivery option is not available for every community or consumer.
#3 Some people avoid online shopping entirely out of fear of package thefts
Shorr Packaging’s survey also revealed that 41% of people say they have avoided some purchases from online retailers for fear of porch pirating or package theft. Buy Online, Pickup in Store (BOPIS) is a growing way to avoid the threat of porch pirates altogether. BOPIS allows consumers the convenience of online shopping and the flexibility of getting their packages – often from an in-store package locker, such as an Amazon locker for an Amazon package – on their own time.
#4 Package theft peaks during the holiday season
There’s no denying that the holiday season brings a massive influx of deliveries, and, thereby a correlating increase in package theft. In fact, apartment communities could see as many as 486 package deliveries per week during the holiday season6.
This is important for property managers to be aware of as the number of packages they receive typically increases from an average of 150 packages per week to 270 packages per week during the holidays – an 81% increase even during “normal” times7. And more package deliveries typically mean more package theft.
#5 Neighborhood watches and home security cameras don’t help
While it would be nice to think that having a neighborhood watch, a home security camera on your front porch, or a home security system would deter suspicious activity and holiday package theft, the sad reality is that this just isn’t the case.
A video doorbell camera, home security camera, or home security system can serve as a partial deterrent for porch pirates, but they rarely provide leads about the porch piracy for police to follow when footage of suspicious activity is handed over to law enforcement. Additionally, a lock box on your porch can be costly, hard to install, take up valuable space on your porch, and may even block your door.
Smart Parcel Lockers: the Best Tool for Package Theft Prevention
If you are wondering how to avoid package theft, apartment package lockers are the answer. Investing in a parcel locker with a smart lock is the best apartment solution for communities interested in preventing package theft. Parcel lockers are electronic smart lockers that can accept deliveries from the US Postal Service or another delivery company, provide delivery alerts for recipients, and allow for easy, contact-free, and self-service pick-up around the clock, making them a secure package solution for residents and multifamily community managers alike.
Nobody, property manager or community resident, wants to deal with a lost or stolen package, especially during the holidays. Unfortunately, these things sometimes happen and, as a rule of thumb, a seller is responsible for a delivery until it reaches the buyer and the delivery company lists the package as “delivered” or “notice left.”
Smart home lockers offer peace of mind to all parties by ensuring the safe delivery of packages and online orders. Consumers are able to receive what they ordered securely and at their convenience, retailers don’t have to worry about replacing or refunding missing items, and property managers no longer need to worry about liability for packages stolen in or around the community.
Today’s parcel lockers combine modern software and hardware technologies to enable a smooth package delivery process for every delivery driver, who can interact with the lockers with their existing handheld devices to assign a delivery to the appropriately-sized package locker box and quickly confirm delivery with their respective delivery company or the US Postal Service. A secure access code is then automatically texted or emailed to the recipient, who can enter it into the locker kiosk to open the appropriate door and retrieve their package whenever they want – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
It’s nearly impossible to have complete security when a package is delivered right to your doorstep. The sad truth is that a thief can snatch it at any moment, leaving you without your package and in some cases, no way to get a refund. However, when using a parcel delivery system, such as a smart parcel locker, you can rest easy knowing that your deliveries will be safe and out of harm’s way.
Other Tools for Theft Prevention
With FedEx Delivery Manager, a recipient can redirect their package delivery to a nearby FedEx office, Walgreens store, or other location. This is important because even though you have a tracking number, package tracking alone merely lets you know when a package delivery arrives at your door, it won’t prevent package theft.
And UPS My Choice lets a recipient provide delivery instructions as to where the delivery person should leave a package, such as on the neighbor’s doorstep, at the side of the house, on the back porch, or at the back door.
Preventing Package Theft with Smart Parcel Lockers from Parcel Pending
Parcel Pending offers a wide range of apartment solutions that ensure the simple and secure delivery and retrieval of packages and online orders. Our electronic locker solutions help property managers to enhance their residents’ overall experience, save valuable staff time, drive resident retention, and, most importantly, prevent package theft.
Additional benefits include:
- Contact-Free Pick-Up: Scan the barcode in the delivery notification or push a button in the mobile app
- Efficient: Streamlines delivery process; flexible solutions reduce space needed to accept deliveries
- Advanced: Flexible API allows for seamless integration with apartment property management systems
- Weatherproof: Durable lockers protect packages from sun, rain, wind, and snow
- Accessible: Multi-sized lockers accept most package sizes; ADA compliance supports any user
- Versatile: Multiple locker sizes to accept most packages
- Mobile-Friendly: Receive delivery alerts, manage packages, and retrieve deliveries with your smartphone
- Customizable: Custom configurations, color options, or wraps to match property aesthetics or branding
Additional Package Theft Prevention Tips
The following are more tips to keep criminals at bay and help prevent package theft throughout the year:
- Provide delivery instructions. Instruct the delivery service to put packages on your back porch, at the side of the house, or behind benches, planters, or columns on your front porch to keep them hidden from porch pirates.
- Select a signature delivery. To prevent package theft, select “signature required” so that you or someone else has to be home to sign for your package.
- Have packages delivered to your office. For a more secure delivery option, have the shipping company send packages to your place of work rather than your home, foiling the best laid plans of package thieves.
- Sign up for delivery alerts. Sign up to have the delivery company send you delivery alerts via text or email so you can track your package in real-time and retrieve it as soon as the delivery person drops it off on your porch – before porch pirates have a chance to snap it up.
- Ask a trusted neighbor to help. Ask a trusted neighbor to watch for your package and if possible pick it up right after delivery. Provide your neighbor with an estimated delivery date and time so that they can monitor accordingly.
- Keep purchases out of sight when shopping. When you’re at the mall don’t keep your shopping bags in plain sight in your car. Rather, lock your purchases in the trunk of your car.
- When shopping online, use a credit card. Your credit card offers much more protection if criminals were to acquire your card number and personal information. On the other hand, a debit card is linked directly to your bank account, putting your money at risk.
What to Do if You Suspect Your Package Was Stolen
If you suspect a package thief of pilfering your package you should:
- Check around your home to see if the delivery person placed your package out of sight, such as near the garage, on the back porch, or at the back door.
- Ask your neighbors if they saw a delivery person drop off your package or if the delivery driver mistakenly delivered the package to them.
- Contact the shipping company to determine that the package was sent properly. If it was, you can file a complaint with the delivery company.
- File a police report with your local police department.
We know that package theft can be scary, but community managers can rest assured that Parcel Pending’s secure package delivery box will help to fight off the trend of porch pirates.
Parcel Pending can help make receiving those special holiday deliveries safer and more secure for residents without sacrificing convenience. Click here to learn more about our apartment package lockers and see what they can do for your multifamily community.
- DiUlio, Nick. Insurance Quotes. Worst holiday hazards – from ‘porch pirates’ to tree fires – and how to avoid them. (2015, December 2). https://www.insurancequotes.com/home/holiday-hazards-120215
- Accenture, “Most U.S. Shoppers Want Retailers to Close on Thanksgiving Day, Accenture Survey Reveals,” Available at: https://newsroom.accenture.com/news/most-us-shoppers-want-retailers-to-close-on-thanksgiving-day-accenture-survey-reveals.htm
- Deloitte. (2021, September 14). Deloitte: Holiday Retail Sales Expected to Increase 7-9% [Press release]. Retrieved from: https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/footerlinks/pressreleasespage.html?icid=bottom_pressreleasespage&q=*&sp_x_18=content-type&sp_s=date-published-d%7Ctitle&sp_q_18=%22Press%20releases%22
- ValuePenguin.com. (2020, July 9). Survey Finds 1 in 5 Americans Were Victims of Porch Pirates Since the Start of COVID-19 Stay-Home Orders [Press Release]. Retrieved from: https://www.prnewswire.com/news/valuepenguin.com/.
- Shorr Packaging Corporation. The 2017 Package Theft Report: Porch Pirates, Purchase Habits, and Privacy. (2017). https://www.shorr.com/packaging-news/2017-05/2017-package-theft-report-porch-pirates-purchase-habits-and-privacy.
- Parcel Pending. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Prime Day – Post-Pandemic Holiday Shopping Expected to Result in Record Package Volume. (2020, September 4). https://www.parcelpending.com/en-us/blog/black-friday-cyber-monday-prime-day-post-pandemic-holiday-shopping-expected-to-result-in-record-package-volume/.
- National Multifamily Housing Council. (2018, November 14). Special Delivery: 2018 NHMC/Kingsley Package Delivery Report [Press release]. Retrieved from: https://www.nmhc.org/news/