Antelope Valley Press

Were your holiday deliveries stolen?


NEW YORK (AP) — You found the perfect holiday gift online. You ordered it. A notificati­on arrived on your phone, showing the package had arrived. But when you open your doors, the parcel is nowhere to be found.

If this has happened to you, then count yourself among the unlucky group of shoppers who fall victim to package thefts — or porch piracy, as it’s commonly known.

Here’s what you should know about the issue, and what to do if it happens to you.

It’s hard to tell. Most police department­s don’t track package theft in its own category, which means there’s a lack of national data.

The FBI’s figures do show burglary offenses and larceny-theft — a category that includes shopliftin­g, pickpocket­ing, and instances of package theft — have decreased overall in the last 20-plus years. But since both categories are broad and the agency doesn’t keep tabs on specific incidents of package thefts, it’s challengin­g to know whether the problem is getting better or worse.

Some police department­s have started to segregate reports of package theft into their own category, which does show some worrying signs. In Denver, for example, there’s been more than 1,260 reported incidents of package thefts this year, up from roughly 750 four years ago.

Some industry surveys show it’s a headache for many online shoppers. A product research company called The Chamber of Commerce said it surveyed 1,250 US consumers in October and found that 26% of them have been victims of package theft. The problem was roughly split between urban and suburban areas, it said, and only 18% of consumers who’ve had packages stolen reported it to police.

Another report, which used a variety of sources and was compiled by the bank Capitol One, showed 14% of Americans were victims of porch piracy last year. It said those thefts amounted to $29.2 billion in losses.

Retailers and delivery companies are trying to combat the problem in a variety of ways.

UPS and FedEx, for example, allow customers to delay package deliveries if they’re not home or divert them to other pickup locations, either for free or with a fee.

This year, UPS also rolled out a feature called DeliveryDe­fense that uses AI to assess delivery risks and generate a “confidence score” for addresses where merchants need to ship packages. If the address has a low score, merchants can offer customers in-store collection or UPS pick-up points, which include CVS and Michaels stores.

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