Parcel theft in the UK has risen 57% in the last year (5,692 versus 3,540 year-on-year), according to key statistics retrieved from UK police forces.
A series of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests by parcel locker developer Quadient has shown that the problem of ‘porch pirates’ is getting worse, with 11% of UK households reporting a parcel theft in the last year. With an average reported value of £66.50 (US$83m) for each stolen parcel, the data uncovers a potential hidden economy of £206m (US$257m) in stolen goods.
According to Quadient, most reports made to the police about parcel theft are made in November (12% of the annual total) and December (15%). The data also shows that parcel theft is most likely to occur between 9:00am and 5:00pm, and that 22–34-year-olds filed the most reports to the police.
Katia Bourgeais Crémel, EVP parcel locker solutions Europe at Quadient, said, “The plague of porch piracy has intensified during the cost of living crisis, with nationwide parcel theft increasing more than 500% since 2019. Unattended items on doorsteps are just waiting to be stolen.
“The numbers reported to the police could have increased in part due to better awareness of the importance of reporting. However, when you consider more than one in 10 households had a parcel stolen last year, porch piracy is clearly a big problem for businesses and consumers across the UK. This is leaving retailers and couriers spending time and money replacing stolen deliveries and adding strain to customer services. In households that do their Christmas shopping online, retailers’ brand perception could take a serious knock if people are left without a present to unwrap on Christmas morning.”
The FOI also laid bare which regions are most impacted by parcel theft:
Cambridgeshire Constabulary reported the highest total value of reported thefts with £33,729 (US$42,035), closely followed by Northumbria’s £33,408 (US$41,637). Dyfed-Powys saw the highest value per theft at £251 (US$313), a stark contrast to Avon and Somerset’s £7.89 (US$9.83).
Some regions reported particularly steep rises: thefts almost tripled in Northumbria, rose five times in Hertfordshire and rose almost twenty times in Bedfordshire. The number of thefts reported to forces also varied greatly, with just 18 in North Wales while Hertfordshire saw 877.
“Police shouldn’t be expected to stem the tide of parcel theft on their own, and consumers shouldn’t be forced to strike out alone and protect themselves. Consumers need more secure and convenient options for parcel delivery. Blanket 9-5 deliveries or being forced to pick up items during specific building opening hours doesn’t work for anyone,” added Bourgeais Crémel. “Retailers, delivery companies and local authorities need to step up and work together to create a network of pickup and drop-off locations people can use 24/7.”
She continued, “Parcel lockers form an essential part of this network. Lockers not only cut the risk of parcels being stolen, but also give consumers an easy way to collect parcels and a safe way to manage their returns, for instance when passing a locker during their commute. Lockers also protect retailers and delivery companies from the costs of refunding customers for stolen items or sending replacements, and reduce the need for redeliveries, which in turn keeps unnecessary traffic away from local roads. Introducing lockers gives local governments a way to provide better amenities to citizens, reduce crime in the local area and cut the number of delivery vehicles on roads. Finally, police forces will see a reduction in parcel theft, allowing them to direct resources elsewhere.”
Quadient sent FOI requests to the UK’s 45 territorial police forces; the above data is based on the responses from 20 forces.
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