The rise of online shopping and home delivery has led to an uptick in the awful trend known as porch piracy, or package theft. In many communities across the world, thieves take advantage of the convenience of doorstep delivery, making off with packages that don't belong to them.
The impact of the crime goes beyond the inconvenience of a missing package. It can also be a costly experience for consumers. A recent survey by SafeWise found that in 2022, 76% of Americans had a package stolen from their doorstep. This means that the vast majority of people have been impacted by this type of theft, which can be frustrating and expensive.
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While it's difficult to determine exactly how many packages are stolen by porch pirates, SafeWise estimated around 260 million packages disappeared from porches across America last year.
In fact, the same survey found that package theft is more common in urban areas, where there are more people and more packages being delivered — more on that in a bit.
Those 260 million stolen packages amount to a staggering $19.5 billion in losses.
That’s higher than the market cap required for a company to be included in the S&P 500 — $14.6 billion.
To protect your packages from porch pirates, there are a few steps you can take.
One option is to use a package delivery service that requires a signature for delivery, such as FedEx Corporation FDX, or United Parcel Service UPS. This way, you'll know that someone was present to receive the package and it wasn't left unattended on your doorstep.
You can also equip your home with security cameras offered by companies such as ADT Inc ADT, Honeywell International Inc HON, Vivint Smart Home Inc VVNT, or even the Ring Doorbell camera system owned by Amazon.com, Inc AMZN.
Another option is to have your packages delivered to a location where they can be securely stored, such as a mailbox or a package locker. You can also ask a trusted neighbor or family member to accept the package on your behalf if you're not home when it's delivered.
So where did it happen the most?
According to the SafeWise report, the top 10 cities where porch pirates were most active are:
- San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA
- Seattle-Tacoma, WA
- Austin, TX
- Hartford & New Haven, CT
- Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA
- Los Angeles, CA
- Portland, OR
- Fresno-Visalia, CA
- Milwaukee, WI
- New Orleans, LA
And the least?
- Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL
- Tampa-St. Petersburg (Sarasota), FL
- Raleigh-Durham (Fayetteville), NC
- Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, FL
- Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OH
- Detroit, MI
- Cincinnati, OH
- Nashville, TN
- San Diego, CA
- San Antonio, TX
Some elements of this story were previously reported by Benzinga and it has been updated.
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