12 Porch Pirate & Package Theft Statistics (2023 Update)
Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
Shopping online, from laptops and mobile devices, is quick and convenient. During the pandemic it became an almost essential part of life, but while it is easier to have items delivered directly to your door, the home delivery process does carry certain inherent risks: not least, the risk of having your package stolen from the porch or your supposedly safe place. Porch piracy, as it is commonly known, is alarmingly common and tens of millions of Americans have fallen victim to this threat with 100s of millions of packages being unlawfully taken, totaling several billion dollars.
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The 12 Porch Pirate & Package Theft Statistics
- 8 in 10 Americans shop online
- Nearly half of people are comfortable leaving a package for several hours on their porch
- The term “porch pirate” entered the Urban Dictionary in 2010
- 14% of Americans have been victim of package theft
- Although some estimates suggest it is as high as 64% of Americans
- The average package theft is worth nearly $160
- The total amount lost to package theft is over $5 billion
- 210 million packages were stolen in 2021
- Denver is the city with the highest package theft rates
- 50% of people have bought a doorbell camera or security device to prevent package theft
- Monday is the day that you are most likely to have a package stolen
- 54% of people received a refund for their stolen items
Online Shopping and Home Delivery Statistics
1. 8 in 10 Americans shop online
Online shopping is quick, convenient, and it allows consumers to fully and casually research an item before they buy. Whether from a computer, a laptop, or a mobile device, just over 80% of Americans shop online. While there are a number of ways that consumers can gather their purchased goods, including at designated lockers and at certain store fronts, the most common way to receive these items is via courier.
2. Nearly half of people are comfortable leaving a package for several hours on their porch
Especially since Covid lockdowns, it has become increasingly common for delivery companies and drivers to leave parcels in the porch and drive away. It has enabled deliveries to be made while minimizing the risk of spreading Covid. While most consumers were at home during lockdown, this isn’t always the case, and it can lead to packages being left on the porch when nobody is home. Only 12% of people say they are not comfortable leaving a package outside at all while 46% say that they will leave a delivery for several hours. 6% said that they feel comfortable leaving a package for several days and 1% said they would leave it a week and still feel comfortable.
Package Theft Statistics
3. The term “porch pirate” entered the Urban Dictionary in 2010
Porch pirate is a slang term that refers to a thief that takes a parcel or package from outside a house. The term porch pirate was first entered into the Urban Dictionary in 2010 and was used on Twitter in 2011. It has now become a widely used term.
4. 14% of Americans have been victim of package theft
The number of people that have been affected by porch piracy has increased steadily, especially since 2010 and as ecommerce and online shopping have grown in popularity. 2020 and 2021 saw record numbers of online purchases and this led to a record number of package thefts. Estimates of the number of people that have had packages stolen vary, ranging from 14% of Americans, or 35.5 million people, over the space of 12 months.
5. Although some estimates suggest it is as high as 64% of Americans
Other figures suggest that 14% is far too conservative and that the actual figure is over 60%. It is also estimated that 75% of Americans have been a victim of this type of larceny theft over their lifetime.
6. The average package theft is worth nearly $160
The average value of stolen packages is $156.82. It is likely that some of the discrepancy in the number of victims stems from the fact that victims that have had smaller packages stolen are less likely to report the theft. Also, while victims might report the item stolen to the courier or to the company they bought the goods from, the theft may not get reported to police and is therefore not reported as a crime.
7. The total amount lost to package theft is over $5 billion
The total value of packages stolen in the 12 months between July 2020 and July 2021 was $5.4 billion and while victims do have their items replaced in most cases, this cost has to be covered by somebody.
8. 210 million packages were stolen in 2021
Porch piracy has undoubtedly affected a lot of people, with 210 million packages stolen in 2021, and more than 50% of people had multiple packages stolen during the year. As well as being easy targets for thieves, packages tend to fall under the value of $950, which means that the crime is not treated as a felony so even if the thief is caught, the punishment is usually minimal.
9. Denver is the city with the highest package theft rates
Porch piracy occurs throughout the country, but Denver had the highest porch piracy strike rates in 2021, followed by San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and San Antonio. 2021 was the first year in four that San Francisco didn’t top the list.
10. 50% of people have bought a doorbell camera or security device to prevent package theft
There are various ways to try and reduce the likelihood of having delivered items stolen. Consumers can ensure that they are at home when a delivery is made. They can have items delivered to friends, family, or neighbors when not in, and they can have items sent to a storefront and collect them from there. Many consumers have turned to home surveillance as a solution with 50% of people having bought a doorbell camera or security surveillance device to try and catch would-be criminals.
11. Monday is the day that you are most likely to have a package stolen
The most common day for package theft to occur is on a Monday, followed by Tuesday, although this is likely because more people shop online during the weekend when they’re home from work. It is more likely that a package will be stolen in the afternoon but, again, this is when the majority of parcels are delivered to homes. Amazon Prime, the biggest ecommerce company in the world, sees the most thefts of their deliveries with USPS and UPS coming in next.
12. 54% of people received a refund for their stolen items
Until the parcel reaches your porch, it is still the responsibility of the seller, but once it is delivered, the package legally becomes your item which means that the seller does not strictly have to replace any items taken. Despite this, more than half (54%) of people report that they received a refund or replacement item for those products that were taken from them.
Frequently Asked Questions About Porch Pirates and Package Theft
Do Porch Pirates Ever Get Caught?
Porch piracy isn’t listed as a separate crime, which means that it is impossible to tell exactly how many of this type of thief are caught, but some reports suggest the figure is as low as 10%. (City Journal)
Is Porch Piracy A Crime?
Porch piracy is a crime but is rarely considered a felony, unless the item or items stolen are especially valuable or if the thief is a repeat offender.
Do Porch Pirates Go To Jail?
In the rare instances that thieves are caught, porch piracy is usually charged as a misdemeanor offence and they will rarely face serious charges, unless the item stolen is extremely valuable or they have been caught for the same offence before. (City Journal)
Can You Stop Porch Pirates?
Many of us have seen the glitter bomb and stink bomb decoy packages left to attract would-be thieves, and while the videos are amusing, posting these decoys on a doorstep will not stop thieves from stealing packages. The most effective way to stop porch pirates is to take delivery on the doorstep or respond to delivery alerts immediately and bring the parcel in. You can even get porch pirate bags and lockboxes that are designed to make it as difficult as possible to steal items, but simple for the delivery couriers to put parcels inside. Installing a security camera, video doorbell, and other security systems can also help deter thieves.
What Do You Do If Someone Steals Your Package?
Porch piracy rates rocketed during the Covid pandemic as more and more people did their shopping online. Estimates vary but range between 14% and 64% of Americans having been victim of this form of theft. Take steps to prevent the theft from happening and report any theft that occurs to the right people and you may be able to get a replacement product or a refund of the money you spent.
You might also be interested in: 15 Car Theft Statistics and Facts
Featured Image Credit: RightFramePhotoVideo, Shutterstock