The holiday season is Christmas for porch pirates, and every year the news is filled with segments on this growing crime. A quick look at online trends shows significant spikes in conversation about package theft, and it makes a lot of sense that these spikes occur around Christmas.
The holiday season is the time of giving, and many retailers make a huge share of their income between October and January. In the past, much of that shopping happened on Black Friday and in retail stores. That’s starting to change (and no wonder…malls and shops are the stuff of nightmares around Christmas). In 2015, according to CNN, Cyber Monday was the biggest retail day ever with $3.07 billion of online orders, surpassing the Black Friday—three days before—by more than a quarter of a billion dollars. Most of those $3 billion dollars of merchandise required delivery and taxed the capacities of the major package carriers. That’s a lot of packages, and inevitably many of them arrive when nobody is home and are left unattended. There, it only takes a second for someone to make off with them.
Package theft is a crime of opportunity, and so the spike in this particular crime is not much of a surprise around the holidays. More opportunity for thieves to steal packages leads to more package theft. It’s also no question that the value per square inch of each package is increasing. A small box that could easily be hidden under a coat could contain an expensive smartphone or laptop or another device. Plus, these small valuables are pretty easy to resell on craigslist for a good profit. Seattle Craigslist yields 2500 results spanning the last week (not saying they’re all stolen, but…)
It’s undeniable that package theft is on the rise, and it spikes every year around the winter holidays because the opportunity spikes. If 2015 was any indication, 2016 will be a good year for porch pirates, but there are great ways you can prevent package theft. Requiring carriers to get a signature is one of the best strategies. Yes, it’s inconvenient, but it makes sure that the package gets into your hands safely (after that, it’s up to you). FedEx and UPS also allow you to schedule deliveries for a time you’re home or hold deliveries in access points or lockers. If neither of these options work, you could install a bulky locker for packages to be delivered into. Or, even better, The Package Guard gives carriers a place to leave the package that’s secure and is no larger than a Frisbee. In any case, package theft can be solved through prevention, and you can take some easy steps to ensure that the joy of the holiday season is not blemished.