2023 Package Theft Annual Statistics and Trends

Porch pirates stole $8 billion of goods in the past year, and most Americans are worried about securing their shipments this holiday season.

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By Matthew Adkins Matthew Adkins, Staff Writer, VPN & Antivirus

The gift-giving season is rapidly approaching, and Americans love buying online. Last year, we collectively spent over $1 trillion on e-commerce purchases that shipped in more than 21 billion packages. Unfortunately, not every parcel reached its intended recipient.

Package theft has been a plague since the dawn of the Amazon Era, and porch pirates show no signs of relenting. Despite increased security measures and legislative crackdowns, the problem remains pervasive.

With the holiday shopping season on the horizon, Security.org has updated its annual package theft research. To prepare for all the cyber shopping activity, we polled over 1,000 Americans regarding their personal porch pirate history and most recent experiences. We also inquired about thievery concerns, preferred methods of theft prevention, and courses of action following a crime.

Key findings:

  • 17% of Americans have had a package stolen in the past three months. The typical stolen parcel was worth about $50. Forty-four percent have had a package taken at some point in their life.
  • Package thieves poached more than $8 billion in merchandise over the past year.
  • 18% of adults said they’d had a package stolen that contained a gift for someone else.
  • Ahead of the holiday season, 88 percent of adults are worried about theft of online purchases. More than a quarter are “extremely” or “very” concerned.
  • 18% of online shoppers take no precautions to ensure safe delivery of their parcels, and fewer than one-in-seven package thefts are reported to the police.

44 Million Americans Victimized by Porch Pirates in Past 3 Months

U.S. shoppers have remained remarkably resilient despite persistent recession predictions. September marked the sixth straight monthly rise in retail sales, while the most recent Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day each set online revenue records.

Driven by American’s compulsion for convenience and bolstered by pandemic demands, e-commerce activity has exploded. The sector nearly tripled its retail market share in the past decade and is projected to redouble that portion in the next few years. Today, the average American receives 3.5 packages per week (or one parcel per day on a couple’s doorstep).

44 million Americans have had a package stolen in the last three months.

That flood of deliveries presents a ripe bounty for porch pirates, and the temptation has proven irresistible. Nearly half of all Americans (44 percent) have had a package stolen at some point, including 17 percent (44 million people) in the past three months alone.

These numbers are similar to the findings of our past few annual surveys, though recent thefts have dipped since the height of the pandemic.

How many people have been victims of package theft

Survey period Percentage who’ve ever had a package stolen Percentage who’ve recently* had a package stolen
May 2020 41% 19%
August 2020 41% 19%
October 2020 40% 19%
December 2020 45% 22%
July 2021 40% 17%
October 2021 19%
October 2023 44% 17%

*Recent package thefts happened in the three months before each survey, except in October 2021 when we defined a recent package theft as one occurring in the past 12 months.

The median value of recently stolen parcels was $50, meaning the cumulative cost of package thefts exceeded $8 billion over the last 12 months. With that much at stake, consumers need to guard their purchases vigilantly.

Estimated aggregate value of stolen package in the past year is $8 billion.

How to Prevent Porch Piracy During the Holidays

Online shoppers should always take steps to ensure the safe delivery of their packages, but parcel precautions feel especially important during the holiday season. Gift packages are likely to contain more valuable items. They can also prove difficult to replace (depending on the present’s popularity).

18% of Americans have had a package stolen containing a gift for someone else.

Nearly one in five Americans (18 percent) has had a package stolen containing a gift for someone else. Such thefts can create a tricky predicament for the giver, particularly if they are one of the many procrastinators who rely on last-minute holiday shopping.

Perhaps that’s why so many consumers are worried about porch pirates this gift-giving season. Nearly nine out of ten shoppers are at least somewhat concerned about the theft of holiday packages, with more than a quarter of Americans “extremely” or “very” concerned.

>> Fight porch piracy: Best Doorbell Cameras of 2024

How worried are shoppers about holiday season porch piracy graph

To ease your anxiety and protect your presents, we suggest following these basic security practices:

Make it clear that your property is under surveillance. Advances in equipment and expanded connectivity have made effective home security systems more affordable and accessible. Motion-detecting lights with a security camera and doorbell cameras can keep eyes on your porch from anywhere, safeguarding your packages and your family. To maximize deterrence, make monitoring measures obvious to potential pirates. Also, regularly confirm that devices are dutifully recording to preserve evidence should a crime occur.

Bring packages inside promptly: Limiting packages’ time in the open is the most effective way to keep thieves at bay. Whenever possible, have purchases delivered to a secure address with someone present to receive them. Employees who have returned to the office might take advantage of the workplace mailroom. Amazon generally provides an option to use a nearby coded locker or Whole Foods location. Consider a click-and-collect purchase rather than home delivery when ordering from an online site with convenient retail locations. Routing a package to available family or friends can provide a simple solution. For those who insist on the ease of home delivery, supplying instructions to a more discrete part of the property or investing in a secure drop box is often a good idea.

Schedule your shipments wisely: Most online retailers and delivery companies permit scheduling specific delivery timeframes – take advantage by choosing hours when someone will be present. Consolidating deliveries on work-from-home days is a popular solution in the telecommuting era. Try to monitor delivery progress via tracking links or text messages and grab the shipment ASAP to limit the window of vulnerability. For particularly important or valuable deliveries, insist on a signature so the package is never left around.

Some of these tips seem like common sense, yet not everyone follows them. Fewer than half of Americans consider the timing of deliveries, less than a third have a doorbell camera, and nearly one-fifth take no precautions.

Which of the following strategies do you use to prevent package theft? Select all that apply. Percentage of respondents
Schedule shipments for when you are home 38%
Installed doorbell camera 30%
Shop in-store or online with in-store pickup 24%
Installed external lights or signs 17%
Have neighbors bring packages inside when you’re not home 17%
Have packages shipped somewhere besides the home (such as workplace, access point, etc.) 15%
Installed security system 15%
Have packages delivered to someone else 9%
Leave work during lunch/breaks to bring deliveries inside 6%
Use a service that delivers inside the home such as Amazon Key 2%
Nothing 18%

One should always plan to achieve the best result while preparing for the worst outcome. Be aware of your options when a pirate strikes at your door.

What to Do Following a Theft

Whether you take every delivery precaution or none at all, there’s a good chance you will have a package stolen someday. This is especially true if you live in an apartment where 59 percent of residents have suffered a theft. So, what should you do if a parcel goes missing?

Verify that theft has occurred: First, ensure the package was delivered and stolen rather than misplaced or mistakenly collected. Use tracking information to confirm delivery, check every drop-off location at your home (couriers may use side doors or back porches to keep packages from prying eyes), and check with family members, roommates, and neighbors to be sure the parcel wasn’t merely picked up by someone else.

Notify all parties involved: If the package was delivered and is confirmed missing, contact the seller and shipper as soon as possible. All reputable delivery services (UPS, USPS, DHL, FedEx, Amazon, etc.) provide claim instructions on their websites or within confirmation emails. Most companies quickly replace shipments with little hassle, though some may request evidence, affidavits, or police reports. The process is generally painless, but some fear that this simplicity won’t last. Pressed by tighter profit margins, some retailers limit shipping offers and restrict returns. Tightening replacement policies could be next.

>> Related: What To Do in a Home Invasion

Protect yourself: If a shipper or seller refuses to replace a stolen item, other options may avoid financial loss. Check with your credit card company for purchase protection coverage that may halt payment for items not received. If a missing item is costly, it might be worth filing a claim with your home or apartment insurer. The stolen property should be worth more than your deductible to make the effort worthwhile (you’ll likely need to file a police report – which is a good idea, anyway).

Contact the authorities: Perhaps because porch piracy is so commonplace, non-confrontational, and correctable with a few mouse clicks, it’s rarely seen as a serious crime. Reporting package thefts to authorities, however, can serve several purposes. Filing a police report documents your loss, alerts law enforcement to local trends, and might help catch the offenders. Usually, victims are more concerned with package replacement than their civic duty: 64 percent contact the seller, 54 percent contact the shipper, and only 15 percent notify the police.

When you most recently had a package stolen, did you report the theft to any of the following? Select all that apply. % of victims
The store/company you purchased the items from 64%
The parcel delivery company (i.e. UPS, USPS, or FedEx) 54%
Police/Law enforcement 15%
Online neighborhood group or message board 12%
Social media 5%
Doorbell camera provider, such as Amazon Ring app 3%
NONE 12%

Fewer packages would likely be stolen if more thefts were reported and prosecuted – especially if the punishment were enough to make pirates think twice.

Stealing USPS packages is a federal crime, but theft of privately-delivered parcels is often only a misdemeanor (depending on the value of the contents). Some jurisdictions now punish all package thefts as felonies, sending a severe signal to porch pirates. Nine states (Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas) have already enacted such laws, with several others (California, Kansas, New York, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina) considering similar measures.

Of course, convicting criminals requires catching them first, and many pirates are tricky. Some dress as nurses to seem less suspicious, and others are food delivery drivers with legitimate reasons to be at random doorsteps. More challenging to arrest are four-legged offenders – good luck catching groundhogs, raccoons, and dogs who sometimes make off with parcels!


With holiday shopping ready to shift into high gear, millions of online consumers will soon order tens of millions of parcels. Each package ships with the potential to bring a smile to its recipient or ill-gotten gain to a modern-day pirate.

Nearly one in five Americans have had a delivery stolen in the last three months, and almost half of the nation has been victimized by package theft in their lifetime. Before Black Friday and Cyber Monday arrive, e-shoppers should assess the methods that maximize successful deliveries and know how to respond if a package goes missing.

This year’s annual package theft report showed a slight decline in recent crimes. If careful consumers display wiser behavior and authorities enforce stricter porch piracy laws, perhaps fewer Grinches will grift gifts this season. That would make next year’s report even brighter.

Our Data

In October 2023, Security.org polled 1,004 American adults about their personal experiences with package theft over the last 12 months. The poll was conducted online. Participants’ ages and genders were representative of the U.S. population based on the 2020 Census. Participants who’d had a package stolen were asked to report the approximate value of their most recently stolen shipment (occuring in the three months before the poll). To determine the cumulative value of packages stolen in the past 12 months, analysts multiplied the value of packages stolen in a three month time period by four.