Nov 29, 2021 - Business

Denver area worst in U.S. for porch pirates, study suggests

A graphic showing companies targeted by porch pirates.
Packages that porch pirates steal most. Graphic courtesy of SafeWise

Today's Cyber Monday purchases need to come with a warning when shipping to Colorado: Beware of porch pirates.

Threat level: A confluence of trends — more online shopping amid the pandemic, shipping delays and rising prices — will make package theft a bigger headache than ever this year.

54% of Americans plan to shop online more this year, compared to prior holidays, a new study by SafeWise and Cove Home Security reports, and package values have increased.

  • 64% said they had a package stolen in the last year, up from 47% a year ago.

Zoom in: Colorado is particularly prone to package theft.

  • The Denver metro area ranked worst in the nation among cities for package theft, the SafeWise study found after looking at crime and Google Trends data. San Francisco held the top spot for the prior three years.
  • Colorado posted the 13th highest personal property theft rates nationwide with 1,858 thefts per 100,000 people in 2019, a separate analysis by CCTV Camera World, a security system company, found.

What they're saying: "All of this adds up to easy targets for thieves. Porch piracy is a low-entry crime," Ben Stickle, a home security expert and SafeWise adviser said in a statement. "There are no special skills needed to walk up a driveway and steal a package."

Between the lines: Just as the risk is low, the punishment if caught is typically the same. In Colorado, theft of an item between $50 and $2,000 is a misdemeanor punishable by fines and as much as 18 months in jail or as little as probation.

  • In more than a dozen states, often those with high package theft rates, lawmakers have approved or considered laws to make porch privacy a specific crime or increase penalties, according to CCTV Camera World.

Tips: Security experts offered a handful of tips to avoid seeing your holiday gifts stolen.

  • Track packages via text message or mobile app to know when one is delivered.
  • Install doorbell or home security cameras that notify you when a package is delivered.
  • Use a lockbox, like those offered by Amazon, for expensive items, or pick up the item in-store.

The bottom line: "It's people who look like you and I that are not going to be dressing any differently like in black fatigues and looking like a criminal with a face covering," Ray Ansari, CEO of CCTV Camera World and home security expert, told Fox31.

  • "The whole point is to go unnoticed, walk up to a doorstep, get a small package and hopefully it turns out to be of high value and then walk away from it."
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