‘Tis the season – for porch pirates

Make sure those packages get where they are supposed to

By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index

Online shopping has become the new normal. What could be easier than scanning through websites, picking the item, clicking a few boxes and hitting “send”.

Nothing could be easier – except maybe following a delivery truck and stealing someone else’s package.

I see packages sitting on my neighbor’s front porches almost daily.

Many of them have security cameras, but most of them don’t, and even those that do, only get a photo of the thief.

Not everything fits in your mailbox.  Photo: Morf Morford

Not everything fits in your mailbox. Photo: Morf Morford

There are many things we can do to make sure those carefully chosen gifts get into the right hands, but first, a few numbers;

The statistics are staggering – about 15% of packages never reach their intended destination. In New York City,  90,000 packages are stolen (or otherwise ‘disappeared’) each day.  (1*)

The US Postal Service will hold packages at their local station. Amazon, UPS and FedEx offer an expanding network of secure delivery sites for packages at neighborhood sites like grocery stores.

As you might guess, this is a problem all over.

The Denver Police Department started compiling data on package thefts in 2015, and has seen a 68 percent increase in reported cases, to 708 in 2018, from 421 four years ago.

In Washington D.C., 1,846 cases of package theft were reported as of mid-November 2019, already exceeding last year’s total of 1,546 cases.

These are the top 10 metro areas where porch pirates strike most:

San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, California
Salt Lake City, Utah
Portland, Oregon
Baltimore, Maryland
Seattle-Tacoma, Washington
Chicago, Illinois
Austin, Texas
Denver, Colorado
Los Angeles, California
Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, California

Some porch pirate factoids

70% of the 10 worst metros for package theft made the list for the second year in a row.

Only Chicago, Denver, and Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto are new to the list.

It is the season for far more than spreading cheer. Be vigilant about making sure your packages arrive safely. Photo: Morf Morford

It is the season for far more than spreading cheer. Be vigilant about making sure your packages arrive safely. Photo: Morf Morford

The San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose area has the most package theft in the nation for the second year in a row, and a larceny-theft rate of 24.3 incidents per 1,000 people.

The national larceny-theft rate is 15.95 per 1,000 people.

California has the biggest porch pirate problem—30% are in the Golden State.

60% of the metros with a bad year-round record for porch piracy also make the top 10 for package theft during the holidays—San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Portland, Seattle-Tacoma, Chicago, and Denver.

The San Francisco area has the most package theft in the nation for the second year in a row, and a larceny-theft rate of 24.2 incidents per 1,000 people.

Salt Lake City climbed seven spots to become the second-worst metro in the country for porch pirates.

Even though Salt Lake City’s larceny-theft rate (27.5 per 1,000) is higher than San Francisco, fewer searches throughout the year for “missing or stolen package” kept it from topping the year-round list.

More than half of the metros where porch pirates strike the most are also high-tech hubs—San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Baltimore, Seattle, Austin, and Denver.

UPS, USPS, Amazon, and FedEx ship a combined total of 534.2 million parcels every day.  (2*)

To ensure safe delivery of your package, use package tracking, install a door-bell camera or have your package delivered somewhere safer – like with a friend or neighbor or at work.

Those ever-present delivery trucks are a tempting target for thieves, but do whatever you can to make sure your gift makes it into the intended hands.

 

(1*)    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/02/nyregion/online-shopping-package-theft.html

(2*)    You can see a full statistical report on package theft here – https://www.safewise.com/resources/smart-doorbell-buyers-guide/#Package_Theft_in_the_US