Study shows Triangle area is one of the 10 worst urban areas for porch piracy

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – There are lots of advantages to living in the Triangle, but when it comes to package theft, it’s one of the worst places to live. A new study by Safewise shows Raleigh ranks in the top 10 urban areas for porch piracy.

More packages are being delivered than ever, but not all make it into people’s homes. About 64 percent of Americans said they’ve been the victim of package theft in the last year.

“I’ve had a package stolen from my family home,” said student Allie Temple. “It’s pretty frustrating especially when you’re waiting for something to come.”

Temple isn’t alone. It’s estimated 210 million packages were swiped nationwide since the start of 2021, and the Triangle area is one of the worst for that.

“Raleigh has a major package theft problem,” said Safewise’s Andrew Hull.

It’s so bad that the Raleigh-Durham metro ranks ninth in the country for package thefts — a huge jump from 25 the prior year.

“Porch piracy is, unfortunately, a less risky crime in North Carolina than in other states,” Hull said.

Package theft punishment in North Carolina is tied to the value of an item. If a package is valued under $1,000, it’s considered a larceny theft, which is a misdemeanor.

“You’re looking at community service or a small amount of jail time or a fine,” Hull said.

It’s more serious to get caught stealing mail or a package from the U.S. Postal Service, which is a federal crime.

When a package is stolen, Hull said studies show most folks don’t even file a police report.

“What we think is if you have strong evidence, like video doorbell footage, that bolsters the case,” he added.

For those who’ve been victimized, like a Raleigh woman who has video footage of two youngsters stealing her package, catching them is important.

“If a group of people who take packages can get away with one, they can get away with other packages,” said Melissa Hinkel.

If you’ve had a package stolen, here are some suggestions to deal with it.

  • File a police report so law enforcement can track trends
  • Contact the sender with proof of loss
  • File a claim with your delivery carrier

Also, if you have an expensive, big-ticket item that’s been swiped and you have a homeowner’s or rental insurance policy that allows you to claim a stolen package, consider doing it if it reaches the threshold needed to file a claim. 

Hull said the one sure way to make sure your package is never stolen is to arrange to have your package delivered to a location like a UPS store or FedEx depot, post office, or other location where you must go to pick it up in person.

He said, “It’s more inconvenient, but it’s a foolproof way to keep your package safe.” 

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