Over half of Americans order packages delivered to their homes – but will their parcels actually get through the front door this holiday season?
At least one societal change stemming from the pandemic lockdowns is here for the long haul: home delivery of packages.
Since shoppers couldn’t go to retailers during the lockdowns, they had retailers come to them, aided by digital platforms like Amazon.com (AMZN) – Get Amazon.com Inc. Report and by large commercial delivery services like Federal Express, (FDX) – Get FedEx Corporation Report United Parcel Service, (UPS) – Get United Parcel Service Inc. Report and the U.S. Postal Service.
That scenario is picking up steam.
With the holiday season underway, more than 84% of U.S. households expect to have a package delivered to their doorsteps over the next two months, according to C+R Research’s 2022 Package Theft Report.
Another 55% of households will receive at least one delivery package weekly leading up to Jan. 1, 2023.
Porch Pirates Ready to Strike; States Set Penalties
One unfortunate trend tied to the rise of home package deliveries is the rise of the porch pirate — individuals or organized groups that literally steal packages sitting on doorsteps and porches and in mailboxes.
Package theft from homes is a legitimate threat to home dwellers, who lose, on average, $112 for each stolen package, the C+R report estimated.
“So far in 2022, 14% of Americans have fallen victim to porch pirates – some more than once,” the report added. Fully two-thirds (67%) of households “have had one package stolen, 22% have had two, and 11% have had three or more stolen.”
Additionally, a third (34%) of Americans know someone who had a package stolen this year, and some 20% know a neighbor who had a package stolen.
“Having a package stolen can be frustrating and confusing for customers, especially when trying to figure out how to replace the stolen goods,” the C+R study stated.
“When asked if they think delivery companies are doing enough to prevent package thefts, almost half of Americans (48%) say no. And likewise, just about the same proportion believe retailers are not doing enough either.”
Virtually all U.S. states punish this particular kind of property theft.
“In Arizona, a person convicted of stealing packages worth up to $1,000 can receive a penalty of a class 1 misdemeanor,” said LionHeart Security Services CEO Bill Herzog. “If the package is over $1,000, they can be charged with a felony.”
Other states have enacted more severe laws.
“Texas created a law that made stealing packages off of someone’s porch a felony offense with a penalty of six months to 10 years in jail and a fine ranging between $4,000 and $10,000,” Herzog told TheStreet.
“Michigan created a law making the first offense of porch piracy a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to a year in jail. If caught on a second offense the pirate is looking at felony charges and a prison term of up to five years in jail.”
How Consumers Can Fight Porch Piracy
How can consumers fight back against home package theft? Home-security experts advise locking down package theft with these strategies.
Be quick. If you know a package is expected to be delivered, be diligent about collecting it as soon as possible to minimize the chance that someone will steal it. “That’s why most people (60%) keep a close eye on delivery tracking and 43% sign up for delivery alerts,” the C+R report stated.
Be creative. The C+R report also noted that half (51%) of package-delivery consumers stay home when they expect packages to be delivered.
“Still others take different preventive approaches, such as installing a camera doorbell, sending the package to their workplace or a relative’s home, or opting to pick up their online order in the store,” the study added.
Be neighborly. Speaking with your neighbors lets them know to be on the lookout for suspicious people who might be hanging around and looking to steal packages, Herzog noted.
Be armed with an Amazon dropbox. If you’re a regular Amazon customer, know that the online retail giant will deliver the package to a designated Amazon box. “You’ll be provided with a code so you can pick the package up,” Herzog stated.
Be diligent. Schedule package deliveries for the weekends.
“Seek out delivery methods that require a signature, which is a great option for higher priced or valuable items,” said Hippo home insights expert Courtney Klosterman.
“Remove them from your porch as soon as possible and encourage delivery drivers to place packages behind a plant, piece of furniture, or other structure on your porch.”
Be quick with law enforcement. If you do become a victim, contact the police immediately and the delivery company.
“If you have security camera footage, turn that over to the police,” Herzog added. “Also, ask your neighbors if their cameras picked up any footage of the thief.”