By Mac McLean, freelance writer for Mennonite Insurance Services
Americans bought nearly $7 billion worth of gifts for their friends and loved ones this past Cyber Monday1 and had them shipped across the country in boxes and envelopes at the click of a mouse.
And those packages – which could carry anything from a simple toy to the latest iPhone – are the perfect target for thieves if they arrive on their recipient’s front porch when he or she is not home.
“It’s an ongoing problem that we face,” said Fresno County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tony Botti2. “People will follow the UPS truck and wait to see what gets dropped off.”
Nearly a third, or 31 percent of Americans, have personally experienced package theft according to a recent survey conducted by the Shorr Packaging Corporation3. This crime is so common that 41 percent of Americans said they’ve avoided ordering high value items like electronics when they shop online out of fears these items might get stolen.
But these statistics don’t mean people have to risk being the victims of theft if they want to get a package delivered to their door. The survey found 53 percent of Americans have changed their schedules so they’re home when a package arrives. Other tips to avoid package theft include:
Shipping the package to your place of work, a UPS store, a FedEx store, or another location where someone can watch over it until you pick it up,
Requesting a signature delivery option so the driver won’t leave a package at the recipient’s house unless someone signs for it, and
Leaving special instructions for the delivery person asking him or her to place the package on your back porch or another location that’s not easily visible from the road4.
Botti said asking your neighbors to look out for your packages and pick them up when they arrive is another common way to avoid theft. Many people have also installed security cameras over their front door to deter package thieves, he said.
“The awareness has definitely been heightened,” Botti said, adding more and more Fresno County residents are taking steps to keep their packages safe.
- “Cyber Monday sales set to hit $6.59 billion, the largest ever online sum for a U.S. shopping day,” CNBC.
- Phone interview, Tony Botti with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office
- “The 2017 Package Theft Report: Porch Pirates, Purchase Habits, and Privacy,” Shorr Packaging Corporation.
- “Seven Tips for Keeping Your Packages Safe This Holiday Season,” FedEx Global Media