Inside Disruption Blog

Preventing Parcel Theft by "Porch Pirates"

Oscar Villanueva
August 19, 2020




Keeping Parcel Deliveries Safe

By Oscar Villanueva

Managing Director of Security Services & Crisis Preparedness at R3 Continuum


Our current COVID-19 pandemic limitations are keeping us from doing normal brick and mortar shopping for the products we need and love, and online shopping continues to grow, following a trend started long before the pandemic. A Business Insider June 2020 article on US ecommerce mentions an expected growth of 18% this year amid the COVID-19 crisis. This follows a growth of 14.9% in 2019. While this is great news for ecommerce, delivery of these goods via parcel delivery companies continues to pose a challenge with the increasing phenomenon of “porch pirates” or parcel thieves.


Shopping online requires delivery of products via shipping companies, and these deliveries unfortunately come with the growing trend of parcel theft. According to 2,000 consumers involved in research done by C+R research, 36% of online shoppers have reported having a package stolen at least once within the past 12 months, and the average cost to replace a stolen package is $109. The attractiveness of this criminal activity is not expected to end anytime soon, and ways to prevent this illegal activity are essential.


What you need to know to prevent parcel theft


For shipping companies:

  • Train delivery personnel on situational awareness
  • Encourage delivery personnel to promptly report suspicious activity to law enforcement, including suspicious vehicles following on delivery routes
  • Collect stolen package data and do analysis of the areas with the most incidents
  • Develop a security plan to minimize package theft
  • Encourage customers to report suspicious activity


For individuals:

  • Use the shipping company’s tracking capabilities
  • Ensure you are aware of delivery times and work to bring your package inside as soon as possible
  • If you are not home and unable to retrieve your delivered package promptly, ask a neighbor to do it for you
  • Report missing packages as soon as you discover them missing
  • Be on the lookout for parcel thieves and report suspicious activities to the police
  • Consider coordinating package deliveries for periods of time when you will be home
  • Consider renting a PO Box at your local post office
  • Consider installing a lockable delivery box
  • Consider installing a security camera to monitor package delivery areas



Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

Oscar Villanueva

Managing Director of Security Services & Crisis Preparedness, Oscar

As a former federal security and law enforcement agent and executive, and now security consultant, Mr. Villanueva has led large scale high-performing security, law enforcement and training consulting missions and operations in several large metropolitan areas worldwide including in the U.S.A., Europe, Latin America, Asia, the Caribbean, and Africa. Oscar is bilingual in English and Spanish.

Mr. Villanueva is currently a member of ASIS International and the organization’s Crime Prevention Council. Oscar has also worked in the ASIS Professional Development Council, where he served as immediate past Chair of the Council's mentoring program. Mr. Villanueva is a Member of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP), and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).