New York City Leads the Country with 90,000 Stolen Packages a Day.
In New York City, home of the most delivers in the country, residents lost over 90,000 packages a day without explanation. (Up 20% from four years ago). Nationally this number is closer to 15% in urban areas, according to transportation experts.
Amazon has launched a real-time tracking service and UPS is working with a technology company to enable drivers to deposit orders for apartment buildings in locked package rooms.
Amazon, UPS and FedEx also offer an expanding network of secure delivery sites for packages when no one is home. Amazon has over 100 “Hub Lockers” in Manhattan alone.
More than 1.7 million packages are stolen or go missing every day in the US, which adds up to more than $25 million in lost goods and services, according to an analysis for The Times.
“The internet economy has brought tremendous efficiencies but it has also created unintended consequences,” Professor Holguín-Veras said. “Human history shows that new technology solves some problems, but in doing so, it creates others.”
Yet the extent of package theft has been largely underestimated because most cases are not reported to the police. Most police departments do not track package thefts, but those that have examined the problem have reported notable increases.
The Denver Police Department started compiling data on package thefts in 2015, and has seen a 68 percent increase in reported cases, to 708 last year, from 421 four years ago. In Washington D.C., 1,846 cases of package theft were reported as of mid-November, already exceeding last year’s total of 1,546 cases, according to police records. In New York, the police do not break out stolen packages into a separate category. Instead, these cases generally fall under grand larceny if an item is valued at more than $1,000, or petit larceny if valued at less.
In Texas, new laws could have package thieves could face up to 10 years in prison. A South Carolina bill, called the Defense Against Porch Pirates Act, would make package theft a felony.
Concerns about package theft have helped push video doorbell camera sales to about 1.2 million cameras nationally this year from less than 100,000 cameras sold in 2014.
“It’s a sense of, ‘I’m going to protect what’s mine — even if I have to get my camera,’” Jason Hargraves, managing editor of insuranceQuotes.com, said of the concerns about package theft.
Mercedes Alonte, 26, a wardrobe stylist who gets shipments of clothing for work, had packages disappear last fall from her Brooklyn building, which she has since moved out of. “It made me really on edge,” she said. “I can’t do my job if I can’t trust the packages are going to be there when I get home.”
One mailbox store, the Brooklyn Postal Center, receives about 100 packages a day for residents who pay up to $5 for each delivery. “People used to come in for mailboxes,” said Suhaib Ali, the owner. “Over time, more and more people were signing up for mailboxes but didn’t actually want them for mail. They just wanted to receive their packages.”
Gabriel Cepeda, 23, came up with the idea for a start-up company built around collecting packages, called Pickups Technologies. Mr. Cepeda’s company connects online shoppers with a network of about 30 residents in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg who will accept packages at their homes at all hours, for fees ranging from $4.99 for a single delivery, to $9.99 for a monthly service. The company plans to expand to more neighborhoods.
This is a huge issue that will only get bigger as more and more consumers change to shopping online vs. heading to the stores.