Select Page

As the Amazon or UPS delivery truck lumbers off this holiday season, an unfortunate guest is increasingly paying American homes a subsequent visit — the package thief.

With consumers buying more online than ever, industry watchers say the number of packages being stolen from doorsteps has surged this year, with an estimated 113 million boxes being swiped in 2023.

That figure comes from SafeWise, a home security research firm that says that three out of every four people they surveyed reported having a parcel snatched from outside their homes after delivery this year — an act often called “porch piracy.”

“Package theft is a crime of opportunity. The more packages left for longer periods of time on a porch, the more likely they are to be stolen,” said Ben Stickle, a criminal justice expert who advised on the report. “As the Christmas gift season gets into full swing, there will be a significant increase in packages on a porch.”

Using Federal Bureau of Investigation data together with data from other sources, SafeWise ranked the top 10 metropolitan areas with the highest rate of package theft as follows:

  1. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

  2. Memphis, TN-MS-AR

  3. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA

  4. Birmingham-Hoover, AL

  5. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

  6. Richmond, VA

  7. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX

  8. Greenville-Anderson, SC

  9. Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI

  10. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

Despite efforts in several states to increase the punishment for such thefts, it is often considered a relatively low-risk crime for most bandits because people often don’t get caught.

But there are things that consumers can do to avoid having your online orders and holiday gifts go wandering off.

Experts say signing up for delivery alerts is an excellent way to make sure packages don’t lay out unattended for too long. For particularly valuable items, requiring a signature for delivery can protect against a high-priced loss. Looking to neighbors to take in packages can help as well.

Installing doorbell cams and other security cameras will prove useful in documenting the theft for law enforcement. Coordinating with neighbors can also show whether the thief is part of an area-wide campaign.  

If your package does get stolen, you should file a police report and share any video evidence you might have with them. The report will help when you contact the sender to report the missing item. You can also file claims via the major delivery services, like FedEx
and the U.S. Postal Service.

While technology can be a great help, scammers have also figured out how to turn it to their advantage. According to the Federal Trade Commission, scams utilizing phony package notification emails and texts are also on the rise.

The scam often works by saying you missed a delivery and need to click on a link to quickly reschedule or the package may be returned. The link could contain harmful malware or direct you to a realistic-but -phony site for a merchant that then asks you to fill in sensitive personal information or log-in info. 

The best way to avoid falling prey to these scams is to never click on a link if the delivery is unexpected. If it looks like it could be legit but you aren’t sure, contact the merchant or delivery service through a known number or other method first to verify.

Share it on social networks