Of almost all crimes over the last decade, none has risen faster than package theft. CNBC reported in 2019 that over 30% of all US consumers had been the victim of package theft, with that number expected to see year-over-year increases every quarter for the foreseeable future.
To get a sense of how consumers respond to package theft, the Safety.com research team surveyed 1,266 US residents asking how they would act if they had a delivery stolen from their porch.
- 49.6% of survey respondents said they wouldn’t bother reporting porch package theft to the police.
- People older than 55 were most likely to report package theft to the police (60%).
- People under 35 were least likely to report package theft to the police (42%).
- The most common reason people wouldn’t report the theft was that survey respondents believe it is easier to make a claim with the company they ordered the package from than to report the crime to authorities.
- 17% of survey participants responded that they wouldn’t report package theft to the police because they don’t expect to see any action taken on the report.
Package theft has been increasing over the past decade for several key reasons.
1. It’s a crime that rarely faces consequences
he odds that someone will be caught while stealing a package, or that a police report will result in any sort of criminal prosecution is extremely low. Most police departments don’t track these thefts either,. And customers have little incentive to follow through since most online retailers refund or replace items for free.
2. Online shopping keeps surging
eCommerce has been on the rise over the last ten years as more people than ever are doing a substantial percentage of their shopping online. With that, the sheer volume of packages sitting on front porches for hours unmonitored has rapidly increased.
3. Package theft is easy
Economic hardship has created incentive for those who need quick cash to commit these rarely-punished types of crime. It’s easy to canvass a neighborhood, steal several packages, and sell the products inside for quick cash.
The research team spoke with several people about their specific thoughts on package theft. By far, the most common opinion about what next action would be most appropriate was that they would prioritize contacting the company the product was ordered from to get a replacement.
“I have had a few packages stolen, Amazon always just sends me another one, no questions asked. It’s not worth the trouble filing a report when it’s that easy to get a replacement,” one person said about why they wouldn’t bother reporting any future theft.
“I don’t expect the cops to find a person who stole something worth $50 off my deck,” another said. “It’d be a huge waste of time.”
Despite this opinion, local authorities often request that residents at least report the crime even if they know nothing will be done. Many police departments record the data, which can be used to identify any trends. The more data and evidence a police department has to work with, the more likely they will be able to catch the perpetrators, even if one isolated event doesn’t feel worth reporting.
- The survey polled 1,266 US residents on how they would respond to package theft.
- The survey ran from December 29th, 2020 to January 5th, 2021.
- 54% of survey respondents reported being male, 46% reported being female.
- All age brackets were split into 10-year ranges with samples from each being between 16.9% – 22%.