Porch pirates still afloat during lockdown

by Inside Logistics Online Staff
( ValuePenguin image)

NEW YORK – The stay-at-home orders that have been implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused an uptick in package deliveries – and thieves have taken notice.

According to a new survey 18 percent of Americans have experienced package theft in the past four months.

More than half (54 percent) of consumers reported multiple package thefts in the past 12 months. And 33 percent knew someone who had a package stolen during the quarantine.

Americans lost an average of US$106 to porch piracy, with respondents reporting losses as high as $4,800 from a single package. About 30 percent of package theft victims did not get all of their money back, and less than half of victims said the thief was caught.

During the pandemic, Gen Xers and Millennials accounted for more than 42 percent of package thefts, and 64 percent of incidents since last year. However, Americans 75 years and older lost the most money to porch piracy – an average of $210 in the past 12 months.

Residents of apartment buildings accounted for 40 percent of thefts. Residents of duplex homes were also likely to experience theft: more than one-quarter of the package thefts during the pandemic happened to residents of duplex homes.

Amazon delivered 57 percent of stolen packages. Groceries delivered by services like HelloFresh and Instacart made up 14 percent of stolen packages, but grocery package thefts decreased during the pandemic, despite the increase in the use of these services.

Despite the increase in package theft, 33 percent of consumers have taken no action to prevent package thefts within the past year. About 35 percent of all residents who did take precautions opted to receive tracking notifications – the most common preventative measure – while 20 percent installed doorbell cameras.

Other measures, like requiring signatures upon delivery, and purchasing package delivery insurance, were not so common.

According to Andrew Hurst, a research analyst at ValuePenguin.com, which sponsored the survey, “The quarantine has become the perfect opportunity for porch pirates, with home delivery orders increasing by nearly 40 percent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s worrying that a significant number of Americans are not taking the appropriate measures to protect themselves against future thefts.”

ValuePenguin.com commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,020 Americans, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded in June 2020.