Why Do People Steal Packages Explained

Recently, there has been a rise in the activity of “porch pirates,” which is the name given to people who swipe packages off of doorsteps. With the exponential rise in Americans who use online shopping, more packages are being delivered than ever before. 

Simply following an Amazon Prime van around for a day will demonstrate just how common online shopping has become. 

Of course, following an Amazon Prime van is also an easy way for porch pirates to have access to packages. Because many packages are delivered when people are out of the house, they often sit on the front step for hours on end. This is one of the major reasons why porch theft has become so common. 

According to Value Penguin, 18 percent of consumers in the United States have become porch pirate victims since the Covid-19 pandemic.

This begs the question of why people swipe packages from doorsteps in the first place.

A package is delivered and placed on a wet stoop in the rain in the front of a house exposed to the elements and theft by a delivery service.

It’s Easy

Many crimes are simply crimes of opportunity. This means that if the opportunity presents itself, someone is going to take advantage. One of the most obvious explanations for why people steal packages off of doorsteps is that the opportunity presents itself. Often, they strike when nobody is home.

Because neighbours don’t watch each other’s front steps and few homes have cameras, they think they’ll never be caught. Few people expect a thief to strike in broad daylight. Therefore, the opportunity to swipe packages off of the front steps is enticing to the thieves.

The Merchandise Might Be Valuable

Another reason why porch pirates steal packages off of doorsteps is that the merchandise inside might be valuable. Often, people shop online for items they think will yield big savings. These might include items such as phones, computers, sound systems, and even video game systems.

If someone can save $100 by shopping online, they’re going to do it. This means that many of the packages that land on people’s front steps are valuable.

Porch pirates know this. Therefore, they are willing to take the chance that the merchandise inside is going to be valuable. If they like what they see, they can keep it for themselves. If they don’t like it, there are other options.

They Can Sell the Merchandise

Man receiving empty parcel with stolen goods

If thieves aren’t inclined to keep the merchandise for themselves, they can sell it online and make a significant profit. There are plenty of places where people can pawn these items online. 

Think about sites like eBay and Craigslist. These platforms ask few questions and the thieves can offload their stolen property quickly.

They can even take the items to a local pawn shop and sell them there. Again, this is an inconspicuous place where they can sell the stolen items without too many questions being asked. Because the items are brand new, they might even get a good deal on them.

Moreover, porch pirates might even decide to “re-gift” the stolen item and conceal it as a reciprocal gesture for family members and friends. As shocking as this might sound, this is another option for porch pirates.

The Thrill of Stealing

Finally, some porch pirates steal packages off of people’s doorsteps purely for the thrill of the act. There is a medical term for people who compulsively steal items, which is kleptomania. 

Porch pirates might not fall into this category, as people with kleptomania tend to steal the same items over and over (think about stealing salt shakers or action figures); however, the similarities are there.

When someone does something they know is wrong, their heart rate will rise. Their blood pressure will spike. They will feel an adrenaline rush which can lead to a feeling that is very similar to a “high.”

Because of this, many porch pirates steal purely for the thrill. They like the feeling of taking risks despite the serious consequences that may befall them if they get caught.

Protection From Porch Pirates

Porch pirates are becoming more common than ever before, it is critical for everyone to take steps to protect their deliveries.

It can be helpful to install security cameras on the outside of the house to catch porch pirates in the act. There are even video doorbells that people can use.

It is also a good idea to inform neighbours if a package is being delivered so they can keep their eyes out for the item.

Lastly, those who are concerned can also ask for packages to be delivered to a PO box inside or get a dropbox for packages. This removes the risk of leaving a delivery at the front door.

Nathan Robinson

Porch pirates stole my package and now I’m on a mission to stop them from doing the same thing to you. I’m always researching, inspecting and informing myself on the newest porch lockers and other technology that can help stop package theft. My library of free content is growing bigger by the day – dive in and together we can defeat porch pirates.