It is the season of gifts: giving gifts, selling gifts, delivering gifts and stealing gifts. With the holidays just around the corner and Black Friday and Cyber Monday fast approaching, more people than ever are planning to order online. It also happens to mean that people are more concerned with parcel theft than ever, which means the biggest gift this time of year might be a video doorbell.
In fact, according to the SafeWise report Package Theft in America, one in four Americans said they upgraded to a specific security system after being robbed. Combine that with the fact that 79% of Americans have been victims of parcel theft in the past year, and that’s a lot of security purchases, even if it’s just the humble video doorbell.
“Package theft is a crime of opportunity,” says Dr. Ben Stickle, criminal justice and parcel theft expert – and member of the SafeWise Advisory Group. “The more packages are left on a porch for a long time, the more likely they are to be stolen. With the holiday gift season in full swing, there will be a significant increase in front porch packages.
“Additionally, people are busier this time of year and have shifted their routines as they may be working later and spending more time away from home shopping or visiting family and friends, leaving packages exposed on the porch longer.”
The best and worst cities for package theft in the United States
Last year alone, 260 million packages were stolen from people’s front porches, up 50 million from the previous year, with by far the worst cities being:
- San Fran-Oakland-San Jose, CA
- Seattle-Tacome, WA
- Austin, TX
- Hartford-New Haven, CN
- Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA
- Los Angeles, California
- Portland, OR
- Fresno-Visalia, CA
- Milwaukee, WN
- New Orleans, LA
Interestingly, the report found that Californians themselves are the 11, although 40% of the bottom spots are occupied by California citiesth least concerned about parcel theft. Conversely, Floridians are most concerned (4thth) on parcel theft, even though their cities occupy 30% of the safest areas in the United States. The full list of cities of least concern is:
- Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL
- Tampa-St. Petersburg-Sarasota, FL
- Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville, NC
- Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, FL
- Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OH
- Detroit, MI
- Cincinnati, OH
- Nashville, Tennessee
- San Diego, CA
- San Antonio, Texas
Overall, however, Americans are more concerned about parcel theft than any other crime in America (53%), and that’s because parcel theft is more common than any other crime in America (34%). The second most common crime, property crime, comes in at just 27% based on reported experiences from over 20,000 Americans.
Asked why it’s so widespread, Stickle says, “The risk is very low and the punishment, even if caught, is minimal. Additionally, the media attention given to parcel thieves can draw more people into the crime if they are made aware of the opportunity.”
Homeowners are looking for better home surveillance
As previously mentioned, 79% of Americans surveyed have experienced a package theft within the last year, but three out of four Americans have experienced a package theft at least once in their lives. More than half of these victims had multiple packages stolen, and since 40% of all stolen packages are between $50 and $100, that’s an estimated $19.5 billion lost in stolen packages.
This places a high value on prevention and deterrence strategies and therefore represents a great opportunity for the security professional who is able to sell and implement effective measures.
When discussing what technologies can be implemented to help, Abhi Bhatt, Sr. Vice President of Product and Innovation at Vivint, noted that doorbell cameras have the greatest value throughout the facility. Once installed, a high-quality doorbell camera can cover a parcel delivery area directly, send notifications as soon as parcels arrive, scare thieves with lights and alarms as soon as they arm themselves, and help capture the brazen through video recording.
From there, integrators can even pour into more complex solutions, offering area-wide motion-sensitive lighting to prevent people from sneaking around the property and outdoor surveillance cameras. Bhatt highlighted Vivint’s Outdoor Camera Pro as an example, which is able to use AI software to detect and track thieves with a searchlight, and even set off an alarm if they linger on the property for too long. Outside of this particular solution, video storage can be used to capture footage of thefts in action in order to catch the perpetrators.
It doesn’t just benefit homeowners; It will also open up opportunities for upsells and RMR through additional features such as secure cloud storage of all recorded recordings. It only takes a simple offering like a video doorbell to open doors to more complex solutions. Homeowners get a taste of what’s possible, and this allows integrators to present higher-value offerings with greater coverage, intelligent automation, and instant notifications.
If 80% of Americans are to fall victim to parcel theft, there’s no reason they have to wait until they lose money before spending even more money on a solution that could have prevented it in the first place. It also means that there is no reason for integrators to wait before selling a solution. As more people are made aware of the value of a security system, integrators have an opportunity to offer a secure answer to a common problem while growing their business.