Having a package swiped from your stoop puts a real damper on your holiday spirit. Porch pirates are out in full force during the holidays—walking away with goodies from nearly 26 million Americans.¹

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are ready to make their 2018 debuts, and there’s little doubt that package thieves are skulking in the wings. Last year the big three package delivery services (UPS, FedEx, and USPS) were as busy as Santa, delivering an estimated two billion bundles between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.² That’s a lot of booty for a porch pirate to go after—but where you live can make a difference.

With the busiest shipping season of the year ready to drop, SafeWise decided to find out where these dastardly desperadoes strike most. Find out if you live in dangerous waters or see if your hometown is a safe harbor.

SafeWise Porch Theft Metro Areas Infographic

A Closer Look at the Findings

SafeWise looked at larceny-theft rates and Google Trends data to identify the most and least risky places for package theft. We compared year-round data with incidents during the holiday season to identify the best and worst metro areas for porch piracy.

  • Half of the top package theft metros also land in the top 10 for larceny-theft overall—Salt Lake City (1), Seattle-Tacoma (3), Miami-Fort Lauderdale (4), Raleigh-Durham (6), and Atlanta (7).
  • Texas has the most incidence of high holiday package theft, with three metro areas making our list: Austin, Houston, and Dallas-Fort Worth.
  • Half the metros on our list are from Texas and Florida—Texas has three and Florida has two.
  • Only three of the top 10 metro areas that are most likely to have stolen packages also make the top 10 for porch theft during the rest of the year—Austin, Salt Lake City, and Seattle-Tacoma.
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale scores zero for stolen package searches year-round, but jumps to 31 (out of 100) during the holidays, making it the third most likely place to get your holiday packages pilfered!
  • Surprisingly, New York City is the least likely place to have a package swiped during the holidays.
  • The national metro theft rate is almost 17 incidents per 1,000 people, and three of our most risky metros stayed under that—Dallas-Fort Worth, Tampa-St. Petersburg, and Boston.

Overall Theft Rates for the Metros with the Most Holiday Package Theft

Holiday Theft Rank Metro Area State Year-Round Theft Rate* 
1 Austin Texas 18.43
2 Salt Lake City Utah 32.60
3 Miami-Fort Lauderdale Florida 23.62
4 Atlanta Georgia 20.80
5 Raleigh-Durham North Carolina 21.85
6 Seattle-Tacoma Washington 24.44
7 Houston Texas 19.29
8 Dallas-Fort Worth Texas 16.70
9 Tampa-St. Petersburg Florida 15.94
10 Boston Massachusetts 11.97

*Per 1,000 people

How to Prevent Porch Theft

Here are some tools and best practices to protect your Black Friday purchases and make those porch pirates walk the plank:

  • Use package delivery tracking
  • Add insurance and require a signature for delivery
  • Use a package locker (Amazon Lockers, PO Box)
  • Install security cameras or a doorbell camera
  • Send your goodies to the office or pick them up in person (UPS, FedEx)

What to Do If a Package Is Stolen

Precautions are a must, but sometimes packages get purloined anyway. If you’re a victim of package theft, here are some things you can do to minimize the damage:

  • Contact the carrier and the retailer
  • File a report with insurance, police, the carrier, etc.
  • Alert your credit card company
  • Check your video footage
  • Check your neighbor’s video footage

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, Some Final Thoughts before You Go

Don’t get raided by porch pirates this holiday season. Whether you’re shopping online or shipping goodies to friends and family, use these tips and resources to ensure safe passage for your packages—especially if you live in a high-risk area.

Methodology

To see where porch pirates run rampant, SafeWise analyzed 2017 FBI larceny data in metro areas across the US and compared it to Google Trends data in those areas with the highest search for “missing package” and “stolen package.” We then compared average search interest over the past 12 months to search interest during the holiday season (November 19–January 6) to find the metro areas that are most vulnerable to package theft during the holidays.³  

Written by Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca has honed her safety and security skills as both a single mom and a college director. Being responsible for the well-being of others helped her learn how to minimize risk and create safe environments. Learn more

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