How Amazon Is Trying To Stop Package Theft


Every day, 1.7 million packages are stolen or go
missing off doorsteps across the country. This is higher than it’s ever
been before and it’s costing Amazon and other sellers millions. Expansion of online retail has resulted
in expansion in the crime of package theft, which brings you to something
around $9 billion a year in stolen packages. Now creative solutions
are popping up everywhere, from doorbell cameras to automatic locks,
porch lockers to alternative pickup points. Big and small companies and everyday
people are trying to stop the thieves. This is a custom built bait
package that is recording him on four different cameras and it’s about to unleash
a pound of the world’s finest glitter along with
some other surprises. We wanted to find out who’s losing
the most when a package goes missing and what are Amazon and other
companies doing to fight back? A 2019 survey
conducted by insuranceQuotes.com found that nearly one in five
Americans report having a package stolen. And according to a new study by
C+R research, each stolen item costs an average of $109 to replace, a cost
typically passed down to the seller who’s responsible for the
refund or replacement. A lion’s share of the loss is
being absorbed by the entity doing the greatest amount of selling, which
in this case is Amazon. Amazon Prime members say they receive on
average 51 packages at home every year, and all respondents spent an average
of $222 a month on online orders. However, 42% of customers say
they avoid buying expensive items online because of theft, meaning Amazon is
missing out on even more sales revenue. In total, the thefts add up
to more than $25 million in lost goods and services each day. There are stories and anecdotes out
there about more organized thieves actually following trucks and picking
packages up off of porches. But the majority of package theft
occurs from someone walking down the street, seeing an opportunity
and grabbing it. Wakefield Research conducted a study on
package theft in 2018 that was sponsored by Comcast,
which owns CNBC. In urban areas, you see as much as
35 % of adults saying that they’ve personally had a package stolen. In a suburban area, that figure is 20
% and in rural areas it’s 13 %. SafeWise also conducted a study. It found the places with the highest
rates of package theft are the Bay Area, Salt Lake City and Portland. Between like 10 and three is going to
be the busiest time and it’s usually a time when people are at work
or at school or out running errands. The nicer neighborhoods get packages stolen
far more than what you would think are the rougher sides of town. And I think because they’re
going after the better booty. So what happens when
a package is stolen? According to C+R Research, victims will
alert more than one entity. 83 % contact Amazon or the seller, 60
% contact the delivery service, 48 % checked with neighbors and only
13 % called the police. So who is it that’s
financially responsible for the loss? Your major sellers, your Amazon,
eBay, are replacing stolen goods. The shippers themselves largely
aren’t incurring this cost. Now some like FedEx will offer
$100 worth of default liability. You can purchase more. U.S. Postal Service offers zero liability
but you can, of course, purchase more insurance. But on the whole that
$9 billion is being absorbed by the sellers. Even though it may seem
like Amazon replaces your item immediately after a theft, if that item
is sold by a third party, that’s who pays for the
replacement or refund. You can also contact the carrier, the
shipper, but they are going to try to get recourse again
from the seller. But your best chance is to go to
where you bought it from and see if they’ll send you out another one. It’s up to the discretion of the
seller whether they want to replace your item. At the end of the day, it’s
the consumer who pays for this because think about it, the rates
have to go up. You can’t afford to keep
having this type of loss. Although many police departments don’t
track package theft specifically, the numbers are definitely up. Denver, for example, saw a 68 %
increase in package theft from 2015 to 2018. Because small retailers and huge
sellers like Amazon are spending more on refunds and replacements every
year, they’ve got a big incentive to stop the crimes. One solution
the e-commerce giant offers is an automatic front door lock system called
Amazon Key, available in 50 cities for free with compatible
smart lock kits. It lets users unlock the front
door remotely, allowing a delivery person entry into the home. Amazon Key
can also open certain garages and compatible cars, allowing packages to be
left in a trunk, for example. And building managers can use Amazon
Key for Business, giving delivery drivers a smart fob with time limited
access to drop off packages inside an apartment complex. However, C+R Research shows
that only 4 % of package that victims use Amazon Key. That number may be
low for one reason. Even though you can literally watch it
in real time, the idea of unlocking your door for a stranger while you’re not
there so they can go in to your home I think strikes
some people as disquieting. And then there’s Amazon lockers. Packages are left inside these automatic
electronic lockers for pickup at convenience stores, grocery stores, apartment
buildings, malls and other locations in more than 900 U.S. cities. Locker+ locations, often on college
campuses, are staffed and can hold packages for up to 15 days. Amazon also offers pickup in-store at
certain retailers such as Rite Aid, GNC, Health Mart and Stage Stores. We have 11 % who said that
they’re sending their deliveries to an Amazon locker or similar type of service. And then we have 10 % who said
that they use some sort of package lockbox. These individual lockboxes like these from
Kingsley Park are often secured to a porch where carriers enter
an access code to leave packages. And then finally, we have 18 %
of respondents said that they wind up sending their deliveries to
their work address. Amazon says the vast majority of
deliveries make it to customers without an issue and that its
customer service is available 24/7. Amazon Map Tracking also allows customers
to view the progress of their delivery in real time when
a driver is close. And for packages delivered by Amazon
it offers a photo on delivery. Of course not all online
shopping happens on Amazon. So there’s also a variety of
smaller companies offering electronic smart lockers. It’s really tough to put a
canoe into our lockers or a mattress, but other than that, we put tires all
the time, we take some pretty big items through the lockers. Parcel Pending has 4,000 locker locations
at retail and grocery stores, companies and apartment complexes in
48 states and Canada. We’ve been working with one e-tailer
who ships over 300 million packages and they have talked about tens of
millions of dollars of loss in packages. And so to put in a
solution like an electronic locker system, for them it’s almost a drop in the
bucket because the loss in packages is not an insurable event for them. So it’s coming out of their pocket. When lockers aren’t an option, consumers
often turn to more homegrown solutions. About a third of consumers will actually
have a package delivered to a friend or have a friend or neighbor
or family member pick up the package. Some things are more extreme. We actually found one in five have taken a
sick day or called in a PTO or vacation day to their employer so that
they could be home specifically to receive a package that they
were afraid might be stolen. The carriers themselves now offer a
solution too: skip porch deliveries altogether by picking up your
package at a storefront. We’ve got between the UPS Stores and
then we announced a partnership with CVS, Michaels, Advance Auto to add a
third one in there, where receivers can say, okay, I want my packages
delivered in those stores as opposed to their home. UPS says it delivers around
20 million packages every day and that 63 million customers have signed
up for its My Choice program. Customers can schedule deliveries, reroute
packages or set their default package delivery location to one of
40,000 secure access points around the world. In the next year or so,
90 to 95 % of the U.S. coverage will be within five miles
of a UPS access point. FedEx, which says it delivers 15 million
packages a day, has a similar program called Delivery Manager. It lets customers enter specific instructions
for where and how couriers should make a delivery or lets you reroute
a package for pickup at one of 14,000 retail locations like FedEx
Office stores, Walgreens, Krogers and Albertsons. By 2026 we expect the
growth to be roughly 100 million packages a day. So we’re going to have to have plans
in place to make sure that there aren’t packages laying out on people’s front
porches for hours or in some cases days if they’re not home. And USPS offers a service called Informed
Delivery, which it says has more than 21 million subscribers. It offers a snapshot of every
day’s expected deliveries and allows subscribers to opt for a package to be
held at a post office instead of being left at the front door. FedEx, UPS, USPS and other
carriers also offer package tracking. And although you can file a claim
for missing packages if they were insured through the carrier, it’s
typically not the carrier’s responsibility once it’s arrived. Once a package is delivered, it’s
out of our custodial control. And so it’s really up to law
enforcement to work directly with consumers on any reported theft. There’s a handful of outside
companies like TrackerSense and Logistimatics that make one time
GPS trackers for packages. And then there’s startups trying
to streamline the entire tracking process. LA-based Route recently launched
its app to offer one-stop-shop tracking for consumers. So you open up our app and
you see everything that you’ve ordered from every merchant in a
single map interface. Route says its algorithms can detect
if a package is wrongfully reported as stolen, helping reduce loss
for its 1,800 merchant partners. And for a fee of 1 % of the
item’s value, Route will also cover the cost if a package is stolen. Once the
carrier usually drops the package off on a porch, their job of delivering that is
done and a lot of times that’s why they’re taking pictures now to show,
you know, the proof that the package was actually delivered. We’re pretty alone on an
island in covering porch pirating. Doorbell cameras are now a common way
that consumers try to protect their packages once they’re no
longer the carrier’s responsibility. C+R Research found that 25 %
of package theft victims install doorbell cameras like the systems
made by Boston-based SimpliSafe. It’s making sure that we have
that reliable, high quality video footage where you’re going to capture the face of
the person on it so that if somebody does steal a package, we
can follow up on that. But doorbell cameras don’t only
capture those with bad intentions. Their American flag that they had outside
their front door had fallen down and the moment captured on video was
a neighbor walking by, seeing that, righting the flag and saluting to
the flag before moving on. If a crime is underway, SimpliSafe
now offers realtime monitoring of video footage when an alarm is triggered and
can dispatch police to the home. They will know that this is not a
false alarm, it’s not a waste of time. This is a really valuable use of their
time to catch a crime in action. And there’s a lot of controversy. Some people feel like, you know, it’s
giving a lot of access to Big Brother. But I think we all want
Big Brother helping us when it’s helping us recover from a crime. SimpliSafe’s video doorbell costs $169 and
it offers a smart lock starting at $99. Competitor Ring
starts at $99.99. And Google’s Nest Hello video
doorbell starts at $229. The problem with that is you get a picture
of the bad guy and you see the bad guy walk away with the package. But what are you going to
do with the bad guy? Who’s going to go after him and
is anything really going to happen? And are you going to catch
the guy who took your item? Typically not. Hey, put that down. Screenshots of package thieves from these
doorbell cameras often end up posted online in forums like Nextdoor
in hopes the community will recognize and stop the thieves. More and more, neighbors are taking
matters into their own hands from baiting thieves with garbage-filled packages,
boxes rigged to explode with blank shotgun shells, or the infamous
glitter bomb packages planted by a former NASA engineer. We would want to encourage people not to
take the law into their own hands and to go through the proper process of
alerting police and not try to set anything up that could
be potentially dangerous. Carriers and law enforcement recommend filing
a police report when a package theft occurs. When you see
the same body type and disguise happening repeatedly in a neighborhood and
you’re keeping that footage and you’re sharing it with local law
enforcement, there’s a much better chance that you are going to catch someone. Still, even with a police report, the
chances of catching them are slim. It’s actually really quite difficult to
find people who are doing this, really unless you’re caught
in the act. The Denver Police Department, one of
the few that tracks package theft, says it arrested 7 %
of package thieves in 2018. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service
is your best bet. However, they were able to make arrests of
less than 1 % of the number of packages that are being
stolen per year. And that’s just arrests. It’s not
convictions and it’s not necessarily finding any of the lost loot. USPS says postal inspectors arrested almost
2,500 suspects for theft of mail and packages in 2018. The average value of a stolen package
is far below what would constitute a felony. In California, for example, the item
needs to be worth more than $950. But in South Carolina, a
proposed Defense Against Porch Pirates Act would make it a felony. And in
Texas, lawmakers recently passed a bill that would fine package thieves between
$4,000 and $10,000 with a possible jail sentence between six
months and 10 years. And some police departments have
experimented with beating thieves with packages and staking out doorsteps. The reality is, as Amazon continues
to bring more shoppers online, there are simply more opportunities for
these easy, simple thefts. I think it’s our job to
continue innovating because there will be continued innovation on the
criminal side as well. Amazon and other sellers are highly
motivated to stop the huge losses incurred by package theft, which
means the solutions are constantly improving from doorbell cameras, tracking
and secure locations for package delivery. There will come a time when we
look back at the way we handled e-commerce deliveries, and I think
it’ll probably seem fairly primitive that you just have these
cardboard boxes sitting on porches. Whether it’s things like the
Amazon Key or lockboxes, technological innovation is so robust right now and
especially if you combine that with an opportunity for individual entrepreneurs
to make money from solving this problem, I really think that it
will be figured out to some extent. I actually think it’s probably gotten
a little tougher for criminals to steal something because there’s more
attention paid to this, consumer awareness on it is growing,
which our data reflects. But you’re starting from
a pretty easy position. This is not a
difficult crime to commit.

100 Replies to “How Amazon Is Trying To Stop Package Theft

  1. Is it really that hard to retrieve your package in the post office? When I'm not at home postman leaves a message to let me know the package arrived and then I go retrieve it to the post office. Had never ever had problems with this.

    Usonians are getting so lazy and entitled that this option might sound insane for them…

  2. nobody calls police because they don't care. camera doorbells dont matter because even if you have a face the police still dont do anything, because its not worth their time.

  3. Why even delivering it when no ones at home? Here at Malaysia you won't get your packages if no ones home. Either you get your packages from the post office or delivery company's office or change delivery date.

  4. Question; if the number of stolen packages in a year goes up by number, but so does the amount of packages delivered and by more than the amount stolen did crime go up or down?

  5. that employee threw those 2 packages he should be fired what if that was some extremely rare ceramic figure that is not easily replaced.

    it is difficult for the police to be able to catch a theft in progress especially based on someone taking the package away from the house because there are probably others who have a unique setup with their landlord where they have to pick up the package from their landlord's house due to the way that the rear address is setup.

    well you could take the video from the doorbell and post it to youtube and on the local news and local police for help

    stealing packages from the postal system should be a federal offense and should be a felony

  6. i really don't know how this is a big problem in the US. in the UK if your not in they'll give it to one of neighbors or leave it at your local post office for you to collect it later. sometimes they'll just reschedule the delivery

  7. 95% of the time, the UPS, FedEx and mail delivery person never rings my bell. I made over 10k in online order last year… Is it really that difficult to drop the packages and then ring the bell?

  8. maybe usa should be asking the question why so many ppl are turning into thieves? is it poverty or laziness or moral decay or what? trying to catch them is just a bandaid

  9. Perhaps future house design could include an optional built in package 📦 locker near the front door somewhere. Or allow an option for a slightly higher delivery rate for evenings/nights up until 9pm or so. This would also free up some of the congested day time traffic.

  10. In my neighborhood, people leave their Yeezys on their porch and nobody locks their doors. We've never had a stolen package. It's crazy to me that this stuff actually happens.

  11. Ridiculous. Customers need to take responsibility for their orders. Either send to a locker or don’t order online.

  12. How dump is that? I pack a package full with 4 smartphones and a chat of farts and glitter and let it get stolen…
    As soon as I get these package I would think.. Yeah free smartphones… And since this video is all over the internet I can prevent myself to get caught stealing it???
    Absolut intelligent

  13. Learned from this video:
    *Amazon (& some other retailers), UPS, FedEx, USPS, etc. don't care.
    *Police/Prosecutors do not have resources or harsher laws to pursue all these cases. Citizens have to deal w/ theft/thieves ourselves.

    *Cameras that have sensors and audio recording which scolds the potential thieves might help scare away thieves (sometimes); otherwise, the video evidence is useless because law enforcement rarely pursues it.

    * Cameras are most useful to home owners who can partner w/community organizations to fight crime. In Hawai'i, we put thieves' faces on blast on "Stolen Stuff Hawai'i" (Facebook), other websites (such as "Next Door") and local news. Thieves better hope the citizens don't catch them before the police.

    * Customers should have packages sent to a PO BOX, office address, electronic LOCKER system located inside a store, or, pickup package at FedEx/UPS office.

    * Retailers, shipping companies and law enforcement have NOT found a better solution. 🙁

  14. Why packages are stolen and the demographics of the very few convicted / caught weren’t discussed. I’d be more interested in identifying the root cause of the problem. This could be insightful for solution making for all those afflicted.

  15. FedEx's so-called feature to give drivers delivery instructions doesn't work. I have standing instructions with FedEx on where to leave deliveries, and they always ignore it. UPS, on the other hand, nearly always gets it right.

  16. This isnt a theft issue, its an employment issue.
    If you're earning 1k a week lets say, the incentive to steal is essentially 0.

  17. as someone who delivers for amazon.. amazon key is extremely stupid and makes US get into bigger trouble because of many reasons. a – yall leave your dogs in the house and when the door opens the dogs can run up to us and cause trouble. b – yall already get angry at us sometimes for going into your backyards when in the description of your own amazon account its telling us to go to the backyard.

  18. You know the other thing that would help UPS? Actually reading the delivery instructions. I have it set to my rear door, and still your drivers put packages on my front porch.

  19. CNBC: According to studies there are more package thefts in urban areas than in suburbs

    3 seconds later

    Feminist liberal: There are more package thefts in rich neighborhoods

    :facepalm:

  20. amazon says "the vast majority of packages make it to customers without issue".
    i certainly hope thats not a feminists interpretation of "vast majority" (ie: 51%)

  21. CNBC, you'll note that the "glitter bomb" guy was caught out using actors as the "victims". You might want to check up on the footage you use.

  22. Why don't they just create built in lockers with one side going to the outside and one side to open from within? This would be very smart.

  23. Nobody noticed he sees the camera at 10:25. He immediately stopped what he was doing, gave the salute, and walked away… Not saying he had bad intentions but he was obviously putting on a performance once he knew he was on camera.

  24. the police are human garbage worse then the package thieves I would only use them for a police report if I was forced to the police will keep whatever they find and either sell it at auction which are closed to the public or with the case of some things regift them at christmas or work parties

  25. Open my Home , to someone , hell no . Lock box is the best solution . Or office pick up . Mail man lies and signed for us then gave it to Naber who lied receiving it . Find out his partner took it to his home forgot about it 4 days later said he had it . 🤦‍♀️

  26. So. You can't catch them with video footage, you can't catch repeat offenders and the police won't do anything about it either way because they literally can't. But we should still have big brother "helping" us because? It seems like the only solution is people taking it into their own hands. That seems like the only solution for anything nowadays.

  27. Imagine when you have drones delivering packages…. you will have gangs running around on horseback "hunting" drones with slings and arrows for the packages.
    It will be like some future Armageddon road warrior world full of sky pirates.

  28. Sometimes when you toss package in a lake, it sinks.
    What could be done to stop this from happening?
    Hmmm…
    Meanwhile, in countries where they don't throw packages in lakes:
    ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  29. 1:14 lol that guy should be playing major league frisbee games with a throw like that! Exactly why I just go to a store and buy what I want.

  30. Parcel Theft increased by over 1000% after public executions went away, correlation or?

    I'm a horror writer and narrater so take this with a grain of salt, I'm lying.

  31. Sooooo stupid, how is it not normal to leave the package at at store or post-office when you are not home? Here in belgium there is no way they are going to leave your package behind at your doorstep

  32. Before refrigeration, in Britain we came up with a solution to this problem for milk deliveries, it's called a milk door, a small little door large enough for small packages.

  33. Grocery stores in my area accept amazon packages. I have no problem going to a nearby grocery store to pick up my stuff from a secure location.

  34. It is ridiculous to suggest that the seller and/or shipper are not responsible for missing shipments. I've been buying from Amazon since they started. I've spent many thousands of dollars at Amazon during that time. And in that time probably a half-dozen or slightly more packages have failed to be delivered. That's an excellent track record. But ALL of them were reported as delivered by the carrier. So, if the carrier has reported them as delivered, does that mean the loss is my fault? NONE of these packages were stolen! Not one. ALL of them were MIS-DELIVERED by the shipper/carrier. Usually (but not always) to my house number, but to a parallel street. The shippers (actually, the deliverers) were either USPS or UPS. There was nothing I could have done to prevent these lost packages, so why should any responsibility be mine?

    Fortunately, Amazon has NEVER given me any trouble about missing shipments. They either replace or refund. That is the way it should be. It costs carriers more for a driver to get a signature of delivery, so, if they are saving money by dropping the package on your porch and have no proof of delivery, they should cover the cost if it goes missing.

    But I also highly recommend that everyone use a secure delivery location if that is available to them.

  35. Here in México signature is required or the delivery van will return the next day if nobody is home. Never had a stolen package.

  36. Or maybe do something to alleviate the harsh wealth inequality and income disparity, so that people have no reason to steal and package theft is virtually unheard off, like here in central Europe 🙂

  37. As far as I know, in The Netherlands package are never left unattended. They are either delivered at:
    1) the original (destination) address.
    2)  at the neighbors address with a note to the orginal address
    3)  or delivered at one of the many designated pickup points, again with a note to the original address.

    Packages at the pickup point are kept for 2 (is it 3?) weeks. After that time undelivered packages are sent back to the seller and the purchase money is refunded.
    Designated pickup points are various stores (could be any store) scattered around in and near cities. When your package is delivered to a pickup point it always is near the delivery address. Usually within a walking distance or bicycle distance.E.g. I have 4 pickup points within a walking distances (less than 5 minutes). And 4 more that I know off within a 10 minutes bicycle distance. 
      
    A simple and effective system that requires no complicate infrastructure (complicated electronic storage lockers) or an electronic bypass house key. Which all can fail and all is costly.

    By the way, I am Dutch and live in The Netherlands.

  38. Here in my country the package is not stolen by some body but rather missing when been delivered if there is no people then we have to get it for ourself

  39. One of the things you guys don’t know is that that UPS and USPS most of the time don’t even knock or wait for you to open the door.

  40. the only way to stop the theft is to never leave a package unattended – so delivery attempt 1 = try to deliver it to a person at the address. If this fails: Attempt 2 = drop it off at a centralized drop box location and give the customer a key code to open the box & retrieve his package. Never leave a package outside a residence & package theft is resolved.

  41. The problem is idiot drivers. Amazon has it's own drivers now but still rely on UPS for 15-17% of it's END delivery. UPS drivers don't care and will leave a package in the middle of a driveway in plane sight.

  42. So if you don't live in the "The better side of town" then you can't afford nice things or "better bootie"…Really? well that's mighty white of you.

  43. This seems to be a very American problem. Why not ring the bell and hand it over to a person, or take it back.

  44. Why is it Amazon's fault that your package goes missing after it's reached its destination? Should be owners responsibility after it has reached your doorstep. Either be there on the day it arrives or have it shipped to a nearby post office or make a secure box for it. Many ways to get your package safely.

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