Prevent Porch Piracy and Parcel Theft: Tips

Package theft courier drivers. Pegasus Couriers

UK residents are warned to be extra vigilant as parcel theft soars.

The warning comes from a recent global survey stating that more than 8 million parcels were stolen or lost in the UK last year – a 5% increase from the previous year. 


Several UK policing units have since cautioned residents on porch piracy – only weeks before Christmas.


The survey estimates that lost parcels and doorstep theft – also known as porch piracy – cost the UK economy £320 million over the last 12 months. Over the same period, porch piracy cost the larger global economy about £33 billion.


Leading UK delivery company Pegasus Couriers Managing Director Martin Smith said most doorstep piracy is thought to be carried out by professional thieves: “There are mainly two types of doorstep thieves.

Either they are organised and even pre-plan their thefts, or they are more opportunistic and take advantage of unattended parcels. I am sure some even operate in groups.”


With the increase in parcel deliveries due to the busy Christmas season, it stands to reason that there will be a spike in parcel theft. Our courier drivers follow strict guidelines and protocols to limit these risks.


I would advise customers to ensure that all their details are up-to-date on the carrier websites so that drivers leave the parcels in safe places. Ask your neighbour if they will keep your package or identify a safer place you would want it left.”

Police tips:

Courier job | van Rental

The survey also showed that despite a surge in e-commerce, about one in ten people worldwide were reluctant to shop online due to the fear of theft.

Smith said the industry had to find ways to keep online shopping safe and attract more shoppers. “This has been a topic of discussion for years and is a growing concern for businesses.”

Last year, there was a 12% increase in UK parcel theft or loss, up from 7% between May 2020 and April 2021, with Wales seeing the largest spike.

The survey was commissioned by British steel manufacturer Penn Elcom and sponsored by the delivery management platform Scurri. 

In the wake of the increase, Crawley Police (in Sussex) issued guidance advising installing a video doorbell connected to your mobile phone.

Scurri’s Gavin Murphy added that they expected parcel piracy to continue as international parcel deliveries increase. When parcel delivery fails at the final hurdle, the customer experience fails expectations and customers may be discouraged from buying online again from that retailer. Nowadays, most customers anticipate a specific day or time for their deliveries. In order for this to happen, friction has to be removed by seamlessly connecting all aspects of the order, shipping and delivery process and systems, and this can minimise risks of incidents where packages are stolen.

Porch piracy: a growing concern in neighbourhoods

Porch piracy, or parcel theft, is a growing concern in many neighbourhoods. 

Here are some tips to help prevent porch piracy and parcel theft:

1. **Require a signature upon delivery**: This ensures that someone must sign for the package, making it harder for thieves to steal it.
2. **Use a delivery locker**: Services like Amazon Lockers or UPS Access Points allow you to pick up packages at a secure location.
3. **Install a security camera**: Visible cameras can deter potential thieves and provide evidence if a theft occurs.
4. **Use a smart doorbell with a camera**: Doorbells like Ring or Nest can alert you to motion at your door and allow you to communicate with visitors.
5. **Have packages delivered to your workplace**: If possible, have packages delivered to your workplace instead of your home.
6. **Request a delivery time**: Ask the delivery company to schedule a specific delivery time, so you can be present to receive the package.
7. **Use a package tracking service**: Services like Package Guard or Doorman allow you to track your packages and receive alerts when they arrive.
8. **Leave instructions for the delivery driver**: If you won’t be home, leave a note for the driver with instructions on where to leave the package securely.
9. **Consider using a parcel box**: A parcel box is a secure, locked container where packages can be delivered and stored until you retrieve them.
10. **Be a good neighbour**: Keep an eye on your neighbours’ packages and ask them to do the same for you.
11. **Report suspicious activity**: If you see someone stealing packages, report it to the authorities immediately.
12. **Use a porch pirate deterrent**: Devices like the “Porch Pirate Deterrent” bag or the “Dummy Package” can deter thieves.
13. **Consider using a delivery service with built-in security**: Services like UPS My Choice or FedEx Delivery Manager offer additional security features, such as redirecting packages or requiring a signature upon delivery.
14. **Keep your porch well-lit**: A well-lit porch can deter thieves who prefer to operate in the shadows.
15. **Don’t advertise your absence**: Avoid posting about your vacations or extended absences on social media, which can tip off potential thieves.

Following these tips can reduce the risk of porch piracy and parcel theft and enjoy greater peace of mind when ordering packages online.


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