By Sara B. Hansen
(Denver, Colo.) Denver loves to boast when it’s named to lists of best, healthiest, or most fit cities. But no one wants to brag about dethroning San Francisco to become the worst city in the U.S. for delivery thefts.
SafeWise and Cove Home Security built their list of the 10 worst cities for package theft by comparing 2020 FBI larceny-theft data with Google Trends data in areas with the most searches for "missing package" and "stolen package."
Denver wasn't on the SafeWise list in 2020 but ranked 8th in 2019 and 11th in 2018. San Francisco topped the list the past three years.
This year's top 10 worst cities for package thefts:
- San Francisco
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- San Antonio, Texas
- Austin, Texas
- Portland, Oregon
- Greenville, South Carolina
- Raleigh, North Carolina
- Hartford, Connecticut
Shipping season shifts into high gear
Friday morning, the Denver District Attorney's office tweeted out a timely warning as holiday shipping season kicks off.
Criminal justice expert Ben Stickle, a member of the SafeWise advisory group, says package thefts are a crime of opportunity. People are away from home more during the holiday season and leave packages exposed for longer.
"Porch piracy is a low-entry crime," Stickle says. "There are no special skills needed to walk up a driveway and steal a package."
Police rarely catch thieves, and if arrested, thieves typically face minimal punishment, he says.
Protect your packages
The DA's office also shared a link to a CNET article listing safety tips to thwart porch pirates. CNET recommends:
- Tracking packages
- Using a doorbell camera
- Installing a porch lockbox
- Requiring delivery signatures
- Buying a mailbox sensor
- Ensuring your home security system is visible
- Having packages delivered to an Amazon locker
While requiring a signature or using an Amazon locker may not be the most convenient, they offer the best protection, especially since the SafeWise study nearly 54 percent of stolen packages are Amazon deliveries. FedEx, the United States Postal Service, UPS, and grocery deliveries make up the bulk of the other thefts.
SafeWise also reminds consumers that packages are the sellers' responsibility while in transit. But once packages arrive, they are yours. Even so, if porch pirate nabs your package, contact the seller or delivery service. Many offer some compensation for a loss.