What Is Package Theft and How Common Is It?


Have you seen those hilarious yet somewhat disturbing videos of package thieves in action? There is a ton of them on the internet, with quite a few being featured by news outlets.

No doubt, you have taken steps such as installing a Porch Pod smart package safe to protect your own deliveries. But, are you still wondering what exactly is package theft and what category of crime it falls into?

Keep reading! We are about to define package theft for you and take a look at what type of crime it is and isn’t. We’ll also give you an idea of just how commonplace package theft has become.

What Is Package Theft?

Package theft is the theft of a delivered item before the recipient has the chance to collect it. In many cases, the stolen goods are items that were bought online and delivered by a carrier or courier service.

Is Package Theft Burglary

Yes, in some cases package theft may be classified as burglary.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) burglary is “the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft.” There have been various cases where the courts have ruled porches and carports as part of the structure of a house and the offender was convicted of burglary.

There have been other cases, however, when porches and carports were judged to be too open and visible to be considered a part of the dwelling. In those cases, the offender was convicted of theft but cleared of the burglary charge.

Is Package Theft a Felony?

Whether or not package theft is a felony depends on the punishment it attracts. A felony, by definition, is “any offense punishable by death or imprisonment in excess of one year.” While it is highly unlikely someone would receive the death penalty for package theft, there are instances in which the imposed prison term could exceed one year.

For example, when the value of the contents of the package is over a certain amount, then most states will classify the theft as “grand theft.” Depending on the state, offenders could then be looking at prison time in the region of 5 to 25 years.

Is Package Theft a Federal Crime?

Yes, if the package was delivered by the United States Postal Service (USPS) which is a federal agency. Stealing USPS packages constitutes mail theft, a federal crime punishable by up to five years in federal prison or fines of up to $250,000 or both.

Also, if the stolen item contained personal identifying information (name, phone number, tax ID numbers, bank account information, etc.) then the offender could be charged with identity theft – another federal crime.

How Common Is Package Theft?

According to the C+R Research 2019 Package Theft Statistics Report, 36% of Americans “have reported having a package stolen at least once.” That said, some cities have very high rates of package theft when compared to others. A 2018 Shorr Packaging study, found that of the 50 largest American cities, San Francisco, CA had the highest rate of package theft while El Paso, TX had the lowest.

Also, regardless of which city they are in, some homes are more inviting to package thieves than others. Homes without security cameras, for instance, are more vulnerable to package theft. So, too, are those without a parcel lockbox or where the porch is hidden from view.

About us:

At The Porch Pod, we make the world’s smartest package safes.  The Porch Pod combines the strength of a rugged weather-proof container with the intelligence of a WiFi-enabled smart lock.  If you’re looking for a way to protect your packages from theft, give our product a look – it may be just what you’re looking for!