Online Buyers Fight Porch Piracy

By Annie Sciacca
The Mercury News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Shipping services, retailers and some police departments are trying to find new ways to combat package theft this holiday season. Amazon offers lock boxes in places like Whole Foods Market stores where people can go for pickups. In addition, UPS and FedEx both have programs allowing customers to re-route packages to secure sites.

The Mercury News

Pleasant Hill resident Erin Miller tracks the packages she orders online, so she was surprised recently when there was no box on her doorstep shortly after she received a notification that it had been delivered.

She reviewed the video on her home-surveillance system, and found that while the mail carrier did indeed deliver a package to her porch, a man had approached the door about 10 minutes later and swiped the package.

“I can’t believe that just happened,” Miller said. “I think they must follow delivery people. There’s no way a package is delivered to your porch and then gets stolen so quickly.”

But Miller is certainly not alone. According to a survey by Shorr Packaging Corp., 31 percent of respondents have had a package stolen from their doorstep. Another study by Xfinity Home, Comcast’s home-security service, found that half of Americans knew someone who had a package stolen.

Amid the holiday shopping rush, consumers must weigh the convenience of online shopping with the risk of having purchases left on their doorstep in public view, spurring shipping services, retailers and some police departments to find ways to combat package theft.

“As with any time of year, package theft is always a concern,” Martinez police wrote in a Facebook post recently, urging residents to guard against potential thefts of packages left on doorsteps. “Unfortunately, the number of package and gift deliveries that occur during the holiday season is just too great a temptation for those that are looking for a quick score.”

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