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

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

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?

Participants

Yes

No

Total

Female

46

200

246

Male

88

228

316

Total

134

428

562

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

A 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).

Conclusions

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.