Package thefts have become so prevalent with the rise of eCommerce that those who steal packages from the doorsteps of homes and apartments have been nicknamed “porch pirates.” In particular, a Shorr Packaging analysis suggests that tech hubs such as Silicon Valley, Boston and Seattle are particularly susceptible to thieves, as these areas face a particularly common problem with stolen packages.
It’s not entirely clear why those cities grapple with package thefts, but Shorr Packaging suggests that areas with a high concentration of wealth could simply have more packages for thieves to steal. The finding comes amid an analysis of geo-targeted search data that Shorr Packaging used to identify locations in the U.S. where the pervasiveness of package theft is greatest. In order to arrive at its findings, the company analyzed Google search trends within the 50 largest U.S. cities with the term “Amazon package stolen.”
After referencing its results with national crime statistics from the FBI, Shorr Packaging found that cities with high rates of larceny thefts also often had many Google users searching for “Amazon package stolen.” Cities such as San Francisco and Washington, D.C. followed this pattern, while cities such as Virginia Beach had fewer people searching for that term and lower rates of larceny. Even so, some cites were outliers: Shorr Packaging found that Tucson had the highest larceny rate of the cities the company studied, but the city had a “very average prevalence of search.” Inversely, Boston had the “fourth highest prevalence” for the search term, but the city has one of the lowest rates of larceny theft in the country.
While package theft remains an issue, eCommerce retailers such as Amazon are offering alternatives to traditional package delivery that can leave purchases sitting on a consumer’s doorstep. Earlier this year, for example, Amazon began to deliver purchases directly to the inside of customers’ cars through a service called Amazon Key In-Car Delivery.
To receive in-car delivery, a Prime member registers their eligible vehicle with Amazon and then completes the normal checkout process with the eCommerce retailer. They then park their car at a predetermined delivery address on the arranged date. When the delivery driver arrives at a vehicle, he or she unlocks the car, puts the deliveries inside and locks it.
Prior to rolling out that offering, Amazon launched Amazon Key, a service for Amazon Prime subscribers that facilitates unattended in-home deliveries. For additional peace of mind, Amazon Key launched alongside the Amazon Cloud Cam, which allows customers to monitor in-home deliveries through the Amazon Key app on their phones or through other compatible devices.
The moves on the part of Amazon may be aimed at overcoming challenges that come with the delivery of packages to people’s houses or apartments when no one is home. Packages can often be left unattended for hours, which makes them a target for thieves or leaves them exposed to bad weather. When it comes to thefts, however, a previous study by Shorr Packaging found that shoppers across the U.S. – not possibly just in tech hubs – face a problem with package theft: In all, the survey found that 31 percent of shoppers in the U.S. have experienced theft of a package at least once.