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Protect Your Customers from
Package Theft and Porch Pirates

Even as the community becomes more aware of theft, so-called “porch pirates” continue to steal packages delivered to Philadelphia porches and stoops at an alarming rate.
 
In Manayunk, one porch pirate wreaked havoc on Dexter and Hermitage Streets, stealing packages from many residents without getting caught. Just last month, a thief in Northern Liberties was caught on camera stealing a package from a mail box by simply walking up and taking it.
 
A report by Shorr Packaging in 2018 found that Philadelphia ranked 14 among cities estimated to have the most Amazon packages stolen. A package theft statistics report from C+R Research found that 36 percent of respondents had at least one experience with package theft and, of those individuals, 44 percent had at least two thefts.
 
Like the rest of the country, Philly has a package theft problem. Is there anything local businesses can do to help their customers avoid theft and restore some “brotherly love”? There are several strategies businesses can employ to increase the chance that their packages reach the consumer safely, including:
 
  1. Using GPS Tracking: Businesses should seriously consider implementing GPS tracking on shipped packages. Business owners can then keep track of their goods in transit and ensure that they reach the final destination. The consumer can also monitor the status of their item so that they know when to be ready for pickup. To that end, businesses can consider implementing a notification system, so that consumers are alerted immediately when the item arrives and can pick it up as soon as possible.
 
  1. Offer multiple pickup locations and times: Businesses can consider partnering with other businesses to act as secure locations for pickup. For example, Amazon recently provided some consumers with the option of having their items delivered to Rite Aid. FedEx has a deal with Walgreens with the same purpose. Also, the New York Times recently highlighted a New York postal store that stores peoples’ deliveries during the day. Similarly, local businesses could partner with reputable convenience stores or postal stores to collect packages for customers while they are at work. If local businesses wanted to go the extra mile, they could work with shippers to offer customizable delivery times which would ensure that consumers would be available to pick up their package.
 
  1. Implement discreet packaging: The report by Shorr Packaging found that the most frequent consumer suggestion for reducing theft was discreet packaging. Discreet packaging would keep the contents of the package hidden from a potential thief, reducing the chances they would want to steal it. The label wouldn’t indicate the origin of the product and the actual packaging would be plain and bland, so that it wouldn’t catch the eye of any potential thieves.

Package theft is currently a significant issue in Philadelphia, as more and more consumers are losing their goods on a regular basis to these porch pirates. While there may not be a complete solution to the problem yet, local businesses should consider implementing these measures and more to provide their clients with the best chance at package safety.