‘Tis the season for porch pirates: Location, home design may elevate your theft risk, surveys suggest

American shoppers are expected to spend $136 billion online from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 this year, according to data from Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud — and that means a lot of online shoppers will be expecting packages in the weeks to come.

But with the packages come porch pirates.

Between 24 to 36 percent of Americans report having been a victim of package theft, according to two surveys carried out by Shorr Packaging Corp. and C+R Research, and that number is likely to rise this year as more and more shoppers turn to online Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in the next week.

The vast majority of Americans (89 percent) report ordering something online between once a week (44 percent) and once a month (45 percent), according to C+R Research. Five percent report shopping online daily, another 5 percent report shopping online at least once per year, and 1 percent said they rarely or never shop online.

Shorr Packaging Corp. surveyed more than 1,000 people about their online shopping habits and the measures they take to prevent package theft. They found that 24 percent of respondents have personally experienced a package theft, but note that this is a 7 percent decrease compared to the company’s 2017 Package Theft Report.

This decrease is likely due to an increase of people purchasing home security systems (33 percent), installing video doorbells (31 percent), utilizing package lockboxes (19 percent) and granting remote access to delivery areas (5 percent) to specifically deter package thieves.

C+R Research surveyed nearly 2,000 consumers who have shopped online at least once within the past 12 months about package theft as well, and found that 36 percent of respondents have had a package stolen, while 56 percent of respondents reported knowing someone who has had a package stolen.

Of the nearly 2,000 respondents to the survey, 54 percent said they have some kind of anxiety or fear about buying a product online and having it delivered to their home due to the possibility of it being stolen. Further, 40 percent said they avoid buying expensive items altogether due to this fear.

For peace of mind, C+R Research found that 82 percent of all respondents felt more at ease after installing a video doorbell camera.

When it comes to who is most likely to be targeted by a porch pirate, Gen X, those living in the Pacific region and those living in the suburbs lead the pack.

Forty percent of Gen X shoppers surveyed by Shorr reported having been a victim of package theft, compared to 33 percent of millennials, 22 percent of Baby Boomers and only 5 percent of Gen Z shoppers.

This is likely due to the fact that Gen X was found to do the most online shopping — 38 percent reported shopping online multiple times per week, compared to 30 percent of millennials, 27 percent of Baby Boomers and 5 percent of Gen Z shoppers.

When they looked at which regions experienced the most package theft, those living in the Pacific, South Atlantic and Middle Atlantic regions were the hardest hit by porch pirates, with 22 percent, 18 percent and 16 percent of respondents, respectively, reporting having had a package stolen while living in these regions.

C+R Research’s survey analyzed how the type of residence and the area in which people live are correlated with package theft and found that those living in the suburbs and those living in single-family detached homes experience the most package theft.

Fifty-three percent of respondents living in single-family detached homes and 41 percent of those living in suburban regions reported having a package stolen. 

Porch pirates may inevitably be prowling this holiday season, but a little awareness and prevention can go a long way to keep them from stealing your packages — and also your holiday cheer.