2021 Report on Package Theft in America

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Package theft is on the rise, as Americans shop online for goods more than ever. Currently, retailers and delivery companies have yet to step up to solve porch piracy, so U.S. consumers must be aware of it and prevent porch pirates from swiping their valuable deliveries.

To help build consumer awareness and minimize porch piracy, we’ve put together this 2021 Report on Package Theft in America. We’ve answered most of the popular questions surrounding it, collected all of the data that’s important to understand, and provided some effective ways to prevent it.

Dive in deeper to the sections below to learn more about package theft and how it might be prevented.

  1. How Common is Package Theft?
  2. Where and When Does Package Theft Occur?
  3. Who are the Victims of Package Theft and Are You at Risk?
  4. Who are Porch Pirates?
  5. Who is Responsible for Package Theft and What is Being Done About It?
  6. How to Prevent Package Theft
  7. What is the Impact of Package Theft on Online Shopping?
  8. 4 Steps to Take When Your Package is Stolen
  9. A Complete Look at Package Theft Statistics 

How Common is Package Theft?

How Common is Package Theft Thumb


As 8 in 10 Americans now shop online, home package delivery is rising fast and furiously. With this increase in parcels at the doorstep, package theft has also been on the rise.  Frank Albergo, president of the Postal Police Officers Association, recently said, "Mail theft is at epidemic proportions; it's never been higher."

DeliverySafe Protects Your Package and Food Deliveries from Theft, Weather, and Spoilage

So how common is package theft? Here we delve into some key stats, trends, legal activity, and consumer behavior to further understand the prevalence of porch piracy.

Key Package Theft Statistics

According to a 2020 C+R Research study, here are the latest stats on stolen packages:

  • 43% of Americans have been a victim of package theft
  • 61% say they know someone who has had a parcel taken
  • 43% say they know a neighbor who was victimized
  • $136 is the average cost of a stolen package

Package Theft Interest Continues to Rise

Taking a close look at Google trends, it shows that interest in package theft on the web has continuously risen over the last year. 

Package Theft Trends on Google
source: Google Trends

According to Google search data, there was a significant spike in people searching for “stolen package” related keywords when the pandemic initially broke out.

In fact, these searches were higher than at any non-holiday time since Google Trends first made this data public in 2004. In addition, the data showed a 1.7 times increase in interest for these terms since May 2019 and  a 2 times increase since May 2018.  


Law Enforcement Policies Show the Shift

In Bellevue, Washington, police saw a 72% increase in mail theft in November 2020 compared to the previous year. With similar police reports like this streaming in from across the country, law enforcement departments, like the ones in Everett and Spokane, Washington, are reacting with additional techniques to deter package theft and catch perpetrators. Within the last year, Texas, Michigan and Oklahoma have all enacted stronger legislation to punish porch pirates and South Carolina and New Jersey are likely to follow. 

Rise in Package Theft Prevention Reveals the Problem

As 52% of Americans were worried a package would be stolen during the holiday season, they prepared to prevent the possibility in a number of ways. In fact, 64% survey by C+R Research said they would stay at home to wait for their items to be delivered. Here’s a breakdown of other ways they chose to prevent porch thieves:


2020 Holiday Theft Prevention

In-Store Pick Up


Installing Doorbell / Surveillance Camera


Shopping at Stores


Sending Packages to Delivery Center


Requesting Drivers to Hide Package


Sending Deliveries to Friends / Relatives


C+R Prevention

The Lockable Package Box Emerges for Prevention

While there are several ways in which people are preventing package theft, the lockable package box is perhaps the best and most convenient way to ensure packages will always be protected.  It’s kind of like a mailbox for your delivered goods. You’ll see a handful of these in the market, but the clear market leader in terms of quality and ease-of-use is DeliverySafe.

You just place it on your front porch or driveway, then give the delivery driver a key code to open it and place packages in it. Its ice pack version also has the bonus of standing in as a cooler for perishable groceries that are delivered while you’re away.


Where and When does Package Theft Occur?

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A startling 43% of Americans have been a victim of package theft, and 64% have been targeted for this crime more than once. As 59% of Americans now receive at least one package per week, concern for porch piracy has reached an all-time high.

So two important questions arise: Where does package theft occur? And when does it occur?

Top Places for Porch Piracy

US Metro Areas

 U.S. Metro Areas with Highest Incidence of Package Theft

source: Google Trends
(Darker blue indicates more interest)

According to Google Trends, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose is the leading US Metro area with the most search interest per capita in the last year for the phrase “stolen package”. Here’s a look at the top 10:

  1. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose
  2. Richmond-Petersburg VA
  3. New York
  4. Hartford & New Haven CT
  5. Providence RI-New Bedford MA
  6. Boston-Manchester NH
  7. Austin TX
  8. Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto CA
  9. Los Angeles
  10.  Philadelphia

US States

U.S. States with the Highest Search for Package Theft

source: Google Trends
(Darker blue indicates more interest)

The District of Columbia is the top state/region in the US when looking at the same Google trends. Here are the Top 10 region/states: for the term “package stolen”:

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Massachusetts
  3. New York
  4. California
  5. Connecticut
  6. Minnesota
  7. Oregon
  8. Arizona
  9. New Mexico
  10. Pennsylvania

Visibility is a Clear Factor

Ben Stickle, a former police officer and current Associate Professor of criminal justice at Middle Tennessee State University, and his research team looked at dozens of YouTube videos displaying porch piracy in action.  One major conclusion was that distance from the street to the front door impacts the culprit’s thought process.

“We looked at three distances,” Stickle said at wtop.com. “One was very close, the other was kind of a medium distance of about 25 feet, and then the other was farther than that. What we found was that the closer the house is to the road, the more likely in our sample the package was to be stolen.”

The Time for Crime

Looking at Google Trends over the period of a year (chart below), it is clear that  “package theft” interest spikes after Black Friday and continues to just past Christmas. As would be expected, it aligns with the number of packages being shipped. 

Search over Time

Google Search over Time for Package Theft

source: Google Trends

Consumer’s Fear Package Theft around the Holidays

In 2019 a C+R Research survey showed that 92% of the respondents expected to get at least one type of online order delivered to their home during the holiday season, and 47% said they are worried about a package being stolen. Interestingly, 42% said they will avoid buying expensive items online because of this potential risk. 

In order to prevent package theft 50% of the respondents said they would stay home for deliveries, 32% would opt to shop at stores instead, 31% would do in-store pickups, and 26% made a signature required for their deliveries.


As package deliveries rise, so does package theft and the fear of having a package stolen. Most of the concern appears to be in large metro areas where online shopping and technology are a bit ahead of the curve, but the data also show package theft is prevalent across the US. As the online shopping trend continues to rise over the coming years and packages start arriving daily to American homes, it will be increasingly important to find ways to secure these packages.

Look for a rise in effort to protect packages by hiding them from visibility or having them placed in secure delivery boxes like DeliverySafe. Look for the inconvenience of planning around package deliveries to be a major pain point for consumers in the near future.  


Who are the Victims of Package Theft and are You at Risk?


No doubt, the multitude of Americans that have had a package stolen from their front porch, are left asking, “Why me?” And the chances of getting their stolen goods back are slim. Sean Stoops, Chief of Police of the Avon Police Department in Indiana, told the Indianapolis Star, "Typically the items that are successfully stolen from the porches do not get recovered.” 

So how much do we know about the victims of package theft? And are you at risk? Well, there isn’t a lot of crime data on this, as many victims don’t report the incident and most police departments don’t have a category for it. However, looking at relevant data and a few studies, there are some conclusions to be drawn.

People that Match 3 Key Factors

Seems simple enough, but people that have a combination of these three key factors are more likely to have their packages pilfered:

  1. High frequency of packages delivered
  2. Porch closer to the street
  3. Packages visible

“Those that have more packages delivered that remain on their front porch longer, are more visible, and closer to the roadway are at a higher risk,” says Ben Stickle, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Administration at Middle Tennessee State University and one of the leading researchers on package theft. 

Stickle found in his study on preventing porch pirates that people who live within 25 feet of the street are significantly more at risk. In fact, 61% of incidents  occurred within this range. The study also found that 98% of stolen packages could be seen from the road. Altogether, porch piracy is like many other crimes--the higher the opportunity, the more likely it will be committed.

More Men than Women

Oddly, in a study on Assessing the Fear of Package Theftit was shown that men are almost twice as likely to be a victim of package theft. The same study also revealed that men do not fear having their parcels taken as much as women. So perhaps this lack of fear leads to less preventative measures and, hence, more instances of theft among men. Either way, this is a significant difference among genders.

Have you ever had a package stolen?

















Study on Assessing the Fear of Package Theft (Hicks, Stickle, Harms)

Those in Certain Metro Areas and States

People living in metro areas primarily on the East and West coast are more likely to experience package theft, according to our blog on Google search interest in “package theft”. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose took the top spot with Richmond-Petersburg, VA, and New York coming in second and third, respectively.  

At the state/region level, the residents of the District of Columbia took the top spot with Massachusetts second and New York third. Although people in some spots are more at risk than others, it’s clear that anyone almost anywhere in the US has some level of risk. Even folks living in rural areas have reported some level of package theft activity.

People Who are Away During the Day

Picture a robbery. In our minds, these transgressions usually take place under the cover of darkness, but it’s the opposite for package theft. The study Package Theft Report: Outsmarting Criminals at Your Front Door found that this type of criminal wrongdoing happens almost exclusively during daytime hours. Of course, for most of us, that’s when we are away at work. It’s also when the majority of packages are delivered. 

“It’s a crime of opportunity, something that is like one step above shoplifting,” José Holguín-Veras, an engineering professor and director of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Center of Excellence for Sustainable Urban Freight Systems, told Input magazine

For criminals, it’s the perfect nexus of opportunity and availability, which means if you aren’t home to take in your packages when they come or can’t get to the door in a timely fashion, by the time you check to see if your package came -- it could be gone.

People Who Order Big-Ticket Items

recent survey found that thieves stole $5.4 billion worth of packages in 2020. Breaking that down, they found each person who reported having at least one package stolen lost $156.82 in stolen goods. 

This reveals two things:

  • Package theft isn’t a petty crime to be ignored hoping it will go away.
  • Thieves are targeting high priced items and/or high volume targets (45% of package theft victims say they’ve been victimized more than once).


Online shopping and package deliveries are on the rise in the US, and package theft is, as well. Those that live close to a street or in plain sight of onlookers, work during the day, order expensive products, or have lots of deliveries are at a higher risk of having deliveries stolen.

With 43% percent of Americans citing themselves as victims of porch piracy, it's safe to say that being aware of these factors is half the battle. Doing something to prevent it is the other half. This includes being aware of your surroundings, tracking packages, and having a secure place, like the DeliverySafe, for packages to be placed in so that they are out of sight and under lock and key till you can bring them inside.


Who are Porch Pirates?

Who are porch pirates - thumb

You’ve probably heard of “Porch Pirates”, the catchy phrase used to describe criminals who steal packages from porches. There are plenty of gotcha videos about them on YouTube catching them in the act, and they always find their way in the news around the Holidays. They are increasingly of interest, as 43% of Americans have now had a delivered package stolen.

But who are these porch pirates, and how do they steal packages?

Quick answer? Package thieves don’t fit into a general category. Ben Stickle, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Administration at Middle Tennessee State University, did a study in which he and his team studied 67 YouTube videos in part to understand who package thieves are. Here’s a closer look at what the study revealed.


Porch Pirates - Gender


There is nearly an even split in gender with 34 men (49%) and 35 women (51%) identified as a thief in the videos.


Porch Pirates - Age

Determining age was difficult, so the study only reported if the culprit was under 45 years of age or over. A whopping 94% were under 45, clearly revealing that it is a young person’s crime.

Porch Pirates - Race

The predominant race of the suspects noted in the study was White, but there was a variety among all of the pirating incidents with 15% Black, 9% Hispanic, and 3% Asian.

Porch Pirates - Status

The study also attempted to examine socioeconomic status by evaluating the offender’s appearance, clothing, and transportation. Based on this, it identified 20 people (30%) as lower status, 45 culprits (67%) as middle status, and one offender (1.5%) as upper status. One person (1.5%) could not be identified.

How are they Doing It?

Yes, some package theft incidents are no doubt spur of the moment decisions that happen when someone walks by a house with a box sitting out front and they grab it. But more often it is a planned crime. 

Trailing the Trucks

Many of these perpetrators follow delivery trucks and then strike. This woman in Vacaville, California hit countless residences, as reported by abc10.com and tweeted about by @MadisonWade:


They Might Come Back for More

One homeowner who had videos of two packages stolen from his house two months apart noticed similarities in the crimes. Both times a car slowly drove around the neighborhood, when the package was spotted a passenger nonchalantly walked to the house, grabbed the package and drove away.  Dressing as Nurses

Porch pirates can be very crafty. In a reported incident at CNN, two women were seen stealing packages on surveillance cameras dressed as nurses in Washington state, according to the Kennewick Police Department. They were wearing scrubs and gloves and even draped a badge around their neck. The Kennewick police posted more about here on Facebook.
These incidents fit with the study’s findings that most of these crimes take place during the day when the thieves can see the deliveries on house porches that are close to the road. The study found that most thieves got away in a car, did little to conceal their identity,  weren’t deterred by cameras or signs that the homeowner was inside. 

Breakdown of the Process

Stickle’s study broke down the process for package thieves in terms of their approach, execution, and exit.

The Approach

Interestingly, the study shows that obstacles like a fence, gate, visible cameras, or even cars on the property did not deter the criminals. Essentially, the approach lasts “as long as it takes the offender to walk or run from the property edge to the porch”, says the study.

The Execution

Actually stealing the package only takes seconds, as no tools or specialized skills are necessary. Although warning signs and cameras would seemingly stop the thieves after arriving at the porch, there was no evidence that this occurred in the videos.

The Exit

Leaving the scene was also very quick and with few interruptions. The study only showed two instances in which the thieves tried to hide the items upon exiting. In four of the videos, the pirate was interrupted by the homeowner while exiting the property.


At least one controlled, academic study of YouTube videos shows that porch pirates are split among genders, almost completely under 45 years old, predominantly White, and mostly form in the middle socio-economic class. Their tactics are varied, but certainly not well-planned or evolved. They often trail trucks or simply walk up and grab packages. They usually are not deterred by obstacles such as fences or cameras, and they usually have a getaway car.

Taken as a whole, it's clear that porch pirates are not sophisticated crooks, but ones who are seizing on the ease of opportunity. Packages are simply in plain site and easily snatched. It's clear that consumers, retailers, and shippers will need to find ways to thwart this crime. The most obvious and clear solution is to adopt lockable, package boxes like DeliverySafe, which can be placed on the porch and can store deliveries until they are received.


Who is Responsible for Package Theft and What is Being Done About it?

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“Why me?” is likely exclaimed by many Americans who are a victim of package theft. It is a frustrating experience to have a parcel picked from the porch, leading to a series of steps to replace it or get the money back. And, a whole lot of questions like:

  • Do I report it?
  • Who do I call--the delivery company or the retailer?
  • Will I be able to get it replaced or get my money back?
  • Who stole it?

Ultimately, the question is: Who is responsible for package theft and what is being done about it? Although there isn’t a clear answer, taking a closer look at some of the key aspects might help.

Who is Responsible?

The key parties involved in getting a package to a consumer are the Seller, the Delivery Company, and the Buyer. Unfortunately, if the package cannot be retrieved, there are no clear laws that put the onus on any one party.  

UPS Says Contact the Seller

Although UPS has a great way to track packages almost up to the minute, they do not take responsibility once it is delivered. It recommends that the consumer contact the sender of the package if it cannot be located. This help article on their site states:

If you still cannot locate the package, contact the sender of the package to initiate a trace process with UPS. The sender will then follow up with you on the progress of your shipment.

According to an article by wusa9.com, UPS clearly states it is not financially responsible:

"If a package has been successfully delivered, UPS would not be responsible for the reimbursement," Dawn Wotapka, a UPS spokesperson, said. "We suggest the consumer file a police report that can be submitted to the retailer for potential reimbursement."

USPS Says No Fault after Delivery

Here’s what Michael Hotovy, a spokesperson for USPS had to say in the same article:

"If loss, damage or missing contents occur to any parcel after delivery by the Postal Service, indemnity will not be paid. This includes insured mail — including Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail, Registered Mail, COD — and Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express." 

Amazon is in a Slightly Different Boat

As a retailer, a middleman, and a delivery service, Amazon is in a slightly different category. It has more involved agreements with the original seller to cover items through its A-Z Guarantee. In fact, according to valuepenguin.com, Amazon covers most stolen packages under their guarantee.  

This being said, Amazon certainly puts a lot of the onus on the buyer and seller. It’s recommendation is to contact the seller if it is a third party--which is most of the sellers on Amazon.

Burden is Primarily the Buyer

Take as a whole, the Buyer is largely put in the position to resolve the issue by reaching out to the Seller or making a claim with the Delivery Company. The Buyer is also responsible for reporting the crime to the local police. 

So the trade-off question is: Is it worth it? This will likely depend on how expensive the item is and how many forms and follow-ups are involved.

What is Being Done?

By the Legislation & Police

The rise in porch piracy has triggered a legal movement to enact tougher laws and punishments for these offenses. In 2019, the state legislation in Texas increased the potential jail time for convicted package thieves to 10 years and raised the fines to the $4,000 to $10,000 range. 

In December of the same year, a law in Michigan went into effect that has three steps. A first offense is still a misdemeanor, a repeat offense can lead to felony charges and a five year prison sentence, and it makes it a five-year felony to steal mail if the offending party has intent to commit fraud.  

In 2020, during the pandemic when home deliveries and therefore porch piracy were both on the rise, Oklahoma passed HB 2777, a bill meant to combat package theft. While a first offense is still a misdemeanor under the Act, multiple offenders could see either or both two to five years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

As Tulsa Police Department spokeswoman Officer Jeanne Pierce told local TV station KTUL. “It’s really good that we have that felony aspect of the law because we are seeing a lot of the same people committing this crime over and over again. So if we can take several package thefts and charge them, we can turn that into a felony and they can get a more severe punishment for the crimes they’re committing.”

Following in the footsteps of these states are CaliforniaUtahNew Jersey and Georgia, which all have had legislation introduced that would strengthen package theft laws in variety of ways. This includes making porch piracy a distinct crime (separate from petty theft), requiring jail time, allowing prosecutors to charge porch pirates with felonies or higher degree crimes, and increasing the fines for such offenses to $15,000. 

By Delivery Companies

Although delivery companies are not taking legal responsibility, it certainly is a “black eye” for the industry if they can’t ensure packages will be received. Much of their response is to help with preventative measures, such as:

  • FedEx Delivery Manager. Arranges for packages to be delivered to a nearby location like Walgreens or a FedEx office.

  • Amazon Locker. Allows consumers to have parcels delivered to nearby Amazon lockers for pickup.

By Consumers

Many buyers who see the inconvenience and financial loss of package theft are beginning to take preventative measures. In this report by ValuePenguin and lendingtree, it shows that consumers are doing several things to combat porch piracy, including

  • Setting up tracking notifications
  • Installing a doorbell camera
  • Requiring a signature
  • Purchasing package insurance
  • Changing the delivery time and place

Lockable Delivery Boxes Emerging as the Best Option

Although home security measures like doorbell cameras can help and consumers certainly see that as a preventative measure, they do not actually stop porch pirates from stealing. As a result, an emerging trend is to buy a lockable package box. It’s kind of like a mailbox for your delivered goods. You’ll see a handful of these in the market, but the clear market leader in terms of quality and ease-of-use is DeliverySafe


How to Prevent Package Theft

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Every day 1.7 million packages are stolen or lost in the US, costing businesses $25 million daily. Despite some retailers and package delivery companies making an effort to stop porch piracy, much of this burden is still put on the consumer.

So with this is mind, here are some ways you can prevent package theft.

At the Point of Sale

There are a number of precautions you can take before you click the purchase button.

  1. Specify Where it’s Placed. Many retailers will have a form for delivery instructions. For instance, you can request that a package be put behind a fence or next to a side door.

  2. Require a Signature. When setting up shipping info, you typically can require a signature upon delivery. Although it can be a hassle to stick around for a package, at least you’ll be sure to get it. This might be reserved for higher-priced items.

  3. Make it a Gift. Another option you can choose upon checkout is to make the item a gift. As a result, the delivered package will typically have no markings on it to reveal the contents or the brand name--thieves look for these clues when casing properties for potential targets.

  4. Set up Notifications. Setting up delivery notifications can also help with safeguarding deliveries. This can be done through some retailers like Amazon before or during the purchase. It can also be done with the shipping company like UPS. This lets you know where your box is in the delivery cycle or when it is expected to be delivered.

Send it Somewhere Safe

Another way to stay one step ahead of porch pirates is to send your packages to some other destination, so it won’t sit on a porch for hours. Here are some ideas:

  1. Your Place of Employment. Have your package delivered to your work--that’s if you still go there regularly and your employer doesn’t mind.

  2. A Relative, Friend or Neighbor. Have your package delivered to the home of a relative or friend that you know will be home. Or, if you have a good relationship with a neighbor that is often home, have some important packages sent to them instead.

  3. The Post Office. Have your package held at your local post office for pickup. A bit of a hassle, but you know for sure it will be safe.

  4. Ship to Store. Take advantage of the “Ship to Store” option that many stores offer and then pick it up.  Also, this usually means free shipping.

  5. A Locker. Amazon offers a locker service that allows you to pick up your package from a secure location. These are secure lock boxes in public locations where packages can be delivered. Amazon is a strong early adopter of this method but other shippers and retailers are quickly following suit. 

Have the Delivery Concealed

A simple idea, but just being sure packages are not visible from the road can make a big difference. Ben Stickle, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Administration at Middle Tennessee State University, did a study in which he and his team studied 67 YouTube videos in part to understand who package thieves are. They concluded that keeping packages should be considered as a deterrent, stating:

High visibility from roadways and easily recognized brands are likely a critical factor in package theft; therefore, concealing delivered packages should be considered. 

Perhaps this means putting a large object, like a bench or plant, on your porch where packages can be hidden by your delivery driver.

Choose Your Delivery Person

USPS if Possible

Depending on the size of the package, you may want to choose the United States Postal Service (USPS) as your delivery provider. This tends to be the best option as stealing US Mail  from a mailbox is a federal offense that carries much steeper penalties than porch piracy crimes. 

The Driver You Know

As frequently as many Americans have packages delivered, they often know who their driver is for each major parcel delivery company. Perhaps one driver delivers the package more consistently on time or places it in the best place more often. In this case choose the one you trust the most. In fact, in one study, it is shown that UPS is the most trusted delivery company.

Home Security

For people having a lot of packages sent to their home it is probably a good idea to beef up home security. Here are some options:

A Full Security System

The general installation of a full-blow home security system is a good way to protect your home as these systems will usually have some sort of exterior monitoring or detection system that can alert the homeowner of intruders.

Doorbell Cameras  

For those looking for some less extensive options, doorbell cameras offer a way to monitor your porch from a remote location. Although these can deter, in many cases they just serve to give you video of a crime

“These tend to be crimes of opportunity,” said deputy chief Wilhelm Young of the Montclair Police Department in Montclair, New Jersey. “An individual will see a package, run up and grab it without forethought. Even if there’s a sign to indicate there’s a camera present, they won’t notice it. And those who do check for a camera often cover their faces or keep their backs to it.”  

Lockable Package Box

Probably the best way to protect your packages without exposing your home to strangers is to get a lockable package box, which is emerging on the market of late. The leader in the market is DeliverySafe. It can be placed on a front porch or by an entryway where packages are usually left and has a keypad that allows delivery people to open it and lock packages safely inside. It is also built to hold multiple, large parcels and can even help keep groceries fresh with insulation and optional ice packs.


Package theft appears to be here to stay for years to come, as online shopping continues to skyrocket. Although there are some efforts by retailers, delivery companies and legislation to help thwart it, the best bet for now is to count on yourself. This includes taking measures at the point of sale, sending it to a safer place, choosing your delivery company, and upping your home security. Your absolute safest bet is to get a lockable delivery box.


What is the impact of Package Theft on Online Shopping?

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Around 35.5 million Americans have had a package stolen, adding up to an estimated $5.4 billion in losses. No doubt, these numbers will continue to rise as online shopping does in the years to come. 

So what is the overall impact of package theft? Taking a look at recent reports and social posts, it is clearly taking its toll in some key areas:

  1. Consumer Purchasing Behavior
  2. Overall Retailer Revenue
  3. Consumer Trust of Retailers and Shippers

Impact on Purchasing Behavior

Yes, consumers are buying more items online than ever, but that doesn’t mean everyone is doing so without hesitation. Here are some ways porch piracy has altered their behavior.

Avoid Buying Pricey Products

A report by C+R Research on package theft found that 48% of consumers purposely avoid purchasing pricey products online during the holidays because they are afraid porch pirates will nab them.  In a survey by Shorr.com, 31% of the respondents have avoided purchasing certain items at any time of the year due to the risk of package theft.

You also see several people tweeting about porch piracy and their declaration to stop purchasing online altogether. Here’s one from @Ohio_Jeremy:


@PekalaLaw says just go to the store:


Change the Way Packages are Received

In the same Shorr.com survey, package theft victims altered the way they receive packages in a variety of ways:

  • 64% have packages sent to an address other than their home.
  • 78% have changed their plans to ensure they were present to receive a package.
  • 51% have a package hidden by the delivery person if possible.
  • 29% have moved away.

Beyond the survey, we also see a rise in adoption of lockable delivery boxes, like DeliverySafe, which can be placed on the porch in the front of the house. Drivers have instructions to open the box to place the parcels then lock it back up. DeliverySafe, for example, has a simple digital keypad to open it up, and it locks again by closing it.

Impact on Retailer Revenue

While victims of package theft deal with the emotional pain and annoyance of porch piracy, it is typically retailers who pay the financial price of replacing these items. Although retailers' revenue will grow greatly in the years to come, there is a price to pay for each stolen package.

For online shoppers reporting package theft, the average cost to replace a stolen package is $109. And the highest cost for retailers? Their customers! In a study done by getconvey.com,  83% of customers said they will not shop with the same retailer again if they experience poor delivery. In fact, 98% of those surveyed stated they base their brand loyalty on the shipping experience.

This has the attention of the largest online retailer, Amazon, which set up lockers for delivery pickups. They also started Amazon Key, which at first allowed delivery drivers access to homes to put packages inside but quickly changed to garages after homeowners balked at the potential of strangers entering their home.

As it hits the bottom line more, expect to see more efforts by retailers and shippers in the near future to help solve the problem.

Impact on Consumer Trust

While many consumers may alter their shopping behavior and retailers or shippers will try to minimize the loss of revenue, perhaps the biggest impact package theft has is in overall consumer trust.  

In fact, in a survey of 2,000 Amazon shoppers 30% said package theft was their biggest concern. And who do consumers blame? Well, in a shor.com survey, 60% of respondents believe delivery companies are falling short or not doing enough to prevent package theft.


Online shopping is certainly entering a boom like we’ve never seen before. With this comes some downside--namely, package theft. It’s impact isn’t entirely known, as there are only a few studies available to understand it. But it is clear that the impact is significant enough for consumers, retailers and delivery companies to begin attempts to thwart it. 

The best option for consumers is to take matters into their own hands and protect their packages from theft. We see the DeliverySafe, a lockable package box, as the best way to do this over the long run. It also has the added benefit of protection against weather, and it keep perishables fresh for a long period of time.


4 Steps to Take When Your Package is Stolen

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More than 40% of Americans have felt the sting of package theft.  After they discover the package is missing and experience the frustration that comes with it, the question that arises next is: What do I do now?

To this end, here are 4 steps to consider if a package is stolen from the doorstep.

1. Contact the Delivery Company

It’s probably best to contact the delivery company first. They should have information about when and where the package was delivered. It is important to determine if the package actually made it off the truc, if it is lost in the shipping channels, or if it’s still in a warehouse somewhere.

Once it is determined that the box was left out for delivery but wasn’t received, each shipper has their own process they follow. Here’s a detailed look at what to do for each popular delivery provider.


If you purchased the item at Amazon, go to your orders and initiate an A-to-z Guarantee refund, which covers a refund on lost, stolen, or damaged. There are a number of requirements and rules for this process, but generally it first directs customers to the seller (if it isn’t Amazon). If they don’t respond within 48 hours, Amazon allows for the filing of a claim within 90 days of the purchase.

Because of this policy, Amazon is known for being very responsive when it comes to package theft. Here’s some positive customer feedback on Twitter:

Tweet from @SaltineSolution

Tweet from @L_Judd87


For FedEx deliveries, go online and file a claim. Make sure to have the package’s shipping tracking number to get started. Through this portal you can report the missing package, upload additional documentation, check the status, or cancel your claim.  

Doing it online allows the victim to receive claim payments and track it for up to 12 months. Typically, the company covers up to $100 of the total value of the shipment or the full amount insured. 


If the tracking information shows that UPS delivered the package but it is nowhere to be found, contact the sender of the package to initiate a trace process with UPS. To note, UPS will not allow a claim to be filed until 24 hours after the delivery took place.

The sender will then follow up with you on the progress of your shipment. Generally, UPS will not reimburse a consumer if the package was delivered to a residence and then stolen. It will work with both the sender and the purchaser, as well as, law enforcement for a given claim. However, UPS will not issue a refund unless there’s proof that it was responsible.


First, file an online request a USPS to begin a search for the missing item and to get the local post office involved. If after 7 days the package is not found, the next step is to submit a Missing Mail Search Request. At this point, enter all pertinent information and pictures.

If the package is not found, USPS customers who used Priority Mail Express can request a refund, and those that paid for insurance can file a claim. This process must be started no later than 60 days from the date of mailing.

2. Contact the Retailer

If the issue cannot be quickly and fully resolved through the shipper, contact the store or retailer next. Most large companies that do a lot of shipping will replace the package with only a few questions asked. Here’s a great example of a positive customer experience with a large retailer, Sephora:

View Tweet

When it comes to smaller retailers, it depends on how well they work with customers and whether or not they can afford to replace items on a regular basis.  Also, if it’s a one-of-a-kind product from somewhere like Etsy, then a replacement might not even be an option. 

Still, it’s worth reaching out to the retailer. They might have great customer service and create a customer for life with their response to the issue. Here’s a great example:

View Tweet

3. Report the Package Theft to the Police

Make no mistake, porch piracy is a crime. Reporting the theft to law enforcement is an important step that often gets skipped because the victim doesn’t want the hassle or doesn’t want to bother the police. But by reporting the crime, it gives the police a better chance of catching the thief in a certain area.

Also, If the crime is reported it will become part of the local and national crime statistics. Why is this important? Because increasingly more states are pushing for stronger penalties for porch pirates. If they can prove the issue is a serious problem, it will help get support for stronger penalties and greater vigilance.

Also, if a buyer is filing for an insurance reimbursement, a police report will probably need to be submitted along with the claim.

4. Contact the Credit Card Company

Another option is to contact the credit card company used in the purchase. Many credit cards policies offer free insurance on every purchase, so it is worth finding out what protection benefits may be available for package theft. To note, there’s usually a value limit on these types of benefits and it will typically require a police report.


Although the onus is on the buyer to deal with package theft, there are several options in attempting to get reimbursement for the loss. If Amazon is the retailer and the shipper, most buyers have had success in getting a refund or a replacement. If not, there are some options with other delivery companies, but most likely contacting the retailer is the next best option. If it’s a larger retailer, there’s a good chance the item will be replaced or refunded. If it’s a smaller retailer or an exclusive item, the buyer may not be as successful in recouping the loss. Also, credit card companies have some options for reimbursement. Ultimately, don’t forget to report the crime. The more law enforcement and lawmakers are aware of package theft, the more all Americans can expect more measures to fight it.


A Complete Look at Package Theft Statistics

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We know that porch pirates are on the prowl in the US. There are enough posts on Twitter, YouTube and other forums to prove this. However, package theft falls under larceny and is not reported by most police departments under its own category. This makes it difficult to understand exactly how common it is. 

This said, there are some significant studies, surveys and reports that have been conducted to get a clearer understanding of the key statistics related to parcel theft. For convenience's sake, we’ve compiled data from the variety of sources available here.

How Common is Package Theft?

According to C+R Research in 2020:

  • 43% of Americans had a package stolen, up 7% from the previous year
  • 64% of package theft victims have had a package stolen more than once
  • 43% say they know a neighbor who was victimized

In a 2020 survey by valuepenguin.com conducted about 4 months after the Covid-19 outbreak:

  • Nearly 1 in 5 Americans were victims of porch piracy
  • 18% had a package stolen since the outbreak
  • 43% had reported a package theft in the past
  • 54% of respondents had multiple deliveries stolen in the prior 12 months
  • 57% of stolen packages were delivered by Amazon
  • Groceries delivered by services like HelloFresh and Instacart made up 14% of stolen packages.

In a report by Bellevue, Washington police:

  • Mail theft increased 72% in Nov 2020 compared to the previous year

In a Los Angeles police department report:

  • Porch piracy increased almost 600% from 2010 to 2017

According to a survey at Finder.com in 2020:

  • 35.5 million Americans had been a victim in the last year.  
  • 39% had a package stolen once, 36% twice, 11% three times
  • 52% were worried a package would be stolen during the holiday season

In a 2019 New York Times Report:

  • Over 90,000 packages a day were stolen or disappeared without explanation in NYC, up roughly 20 percent from four years prior
  • José Holguín-Veras, an engineering professor and director of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Center of Excellence for Sustainable Urban Freight Systems, found that every day over 1.7 million packages disappear

For a more detailed look, see How Often are Delivered Packages Stolen

Who are the Victims of Package Theft?

According a survey at Finder.com in 2020:

  • 17% of men say they’ve had a package stolen versus 11% of women
  • Over 25% of those making over 100K per year were victims
  • Only 12% of those making under 60K had a package stolen
  • Millennials made up 49% of the victims

According to a valuepenguin.com survey:

  • In the last 12 months, 56% of the Gen Z generation had a package stolen, 50% of Millenials did, and 47% of Gen X’ers were victims
  • In the last 12 months, only 24% of Baby Boomers and 18% of the Silent Generation had a parcel taken.

See Who are the Victims of Package Theft for a more in-depth look.

How Often are Packages Received?

According to C+R Research in 2020:

  • 10% of Americans receive packages every day, doubling the year before
  • 49% receive a package at least once a week
  • Only 1% never receive a package

What is the Value and Cost of Stolen Packages?

According to a survey at Finder.com in 2020:

  • The average value of a package reported stolen was $156.82
  • The average cost for men was $190.47 compared to $111.72 for women
  • Stolen packages totaled $5.4 billion in value over the last year

According to a valuepenguin.com survey:

  • In the last 12 months, the average value lost to package theft was $106
  • Victims have reported losses as high as $4,800 from a single package
  • About 75% said they were paid back or received a free replacement item 
  • The Silent Generation reported the highest value lost per package at $210 
  • Gen X lost $122 per package, Millennials lost $113, and Baby Boomers lost $97
  • Gen Z only reported an average of $21 per package stolen

Who Steals Packages?

According a study by Ben Stickle, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Administration at Middle Tennessee State University, and his colleagues:

  • Porch pirates are split between men (49%) and women (51%)
  • 94% of the thieves were under 45 years of age
  • 54% were White
  • 67% came from the middle class


According to a survey at Finder.com in 2020:

  • 5.29% of men say they have stolen a package
  • 0.85% of women said they have been a porch pirate
  • 4.6% of Gen X’ers say they have stolen a package in the last 12 months, followed by Millennials (4.3%) and Gen Z'ers (3.8%).

Check out Who Steals Delivered Packages and How Do They Do It for a deeper look.

Where are Packages Stolen?

According to Wakefield Research:

  • 34% of porch piracy occurs in cities
  • 20% of thefts occur in suburban areas
  • 13% of incidents are in rural areas

According to DeliverySafe research in 2021:

  • San Francisco is the top city per capita for Google search interest in package theft with Richmond, VA second and New York third
  • The District of Columbia is the top region or state with Massachusetts second and New York third

See Where and When Does Package Theft Occur for more info.

Who is More Likely to Report a Package Theft?

According to a survey at Finder.com in 2020:

  • 17% of men have reported a package stolen
  • 11% of women have reported the theft

What do People do to Prevent Package Theft?

According to the valuepenguin.com survey:

  • One-third of all Americans haven't taken steps to reduce their chance of package theft
  • Around half of those 55 and older have not taken any measures
  • More than 8 in 10 millennials have taken precautions meant to deter potential thieves
  • 35% of consumers set up package tracking notifications
  • 20% installed a door camera to help prevent package theft
  • 16% require a signature
  • 14% purchased package insurance
  • 14% changed a delivery time so they can be home
  • 8% receive packages at their office

According to  C+R Research:

  • 50% of respondents purchase a doorbell camera, motion lights or other type of surveillance camera
  • 39% stay at home to meet the delivery drive

During the holiday season:

  • 24% do an in-store pickup to avoid package theft
  • 23% install home surveillance equipment
  • 21% just shop at stores
  • 13% have packages sent to a delivery center
  • 13% request that drivers hide a package
  • 11% send deliveries to friends or relatives

According to a  Shorr.com survey:

  • 64% have packages sent to an address other than their home
  • 78% have changed their plans to ensure they were present to receive a package
  • 51% have a package hidden by the delivery person if possible
  • 29% have moved away

See How Can Package Theft be Prevented for more info.

Don’t be a Statistic, Best Bet is to get a Lockable Package Box

Clearly, the statistics about package theft are compelling and should heed warning to all Americans. Although the studies show people are taking some measures to prevent it, the best way to protect your packages is to get a lockable package box, which is emerging on the market of late. 

The leader in the market is DeliverySafe. It can be placed on a front porch or by an entryway where packages are usually left and has a keypad that allows delivery people to open it and lock packages safely inside. It is also built to hold multiple, large parcels and can even help keep groceries fresh with insulation and optional ice packs. 


The Rise of the Lockable Delivery Box

To deal with the package theft problem, some Americans are ramping up home security through outside security systems and doorbell cameras. Some delivery companies are providing alternative delivery options such as remote delivery lockers or they may try to hide packages from view.

But, ultimately, only one solution solves the problem fully--the lockable delivery box.

These parcel boxes make the most sense, as mail delivery evolves to include increasingly more packages on a daily basis for most Americans. Homeowners or business owners simply put the box near the front door or in a place that makes sense for delivery, they provide the code to the delivery company, then the delivery person opens the box to place the parcel in it and closes it.

DeliverySafe, considered by most to be the leader in the package delivery box market, has had consumers across the US in metro and rural areas,  along with a multitude of businesses, adopt its product. This shows that there is pent-up demand to solve package theft in a variety of ways and areas.

Expect porch piracy to continue to rise over the coming years, but also expect Americans to fight back with measures of their own. The most obvious evolution will be to have a lockable package box for daily deliveries. Essentially, it's the modern mailbox.

Expect porch piracy to continue to rise over the coming years, but also expect Americans to fight back with measures of their own. The most obvious evolution will be to have a lockable package box for daily deliveries. Essentially, it's the modern mailbox.

DeliverySafe's Lockable Package Delivery Box is the Modern Mailbox

The Watchguard for Your Deliveries

Follow us for important news and trends around online shopping and delivery of packages, meal kits and groceries. We’re here to help keep your deliveries safe and fresh.

The Watchguard for Your Deliveries

Follow us for important news and trends around online shopping and package delivery.