According to a series of freedom of information (FOI) requests to UK police by technology company Quadient, the number of reported parcel thefts grew by 287% between 2019 and 2022, from 914 reported thefts between August 1, 2018, and July 31, 2019, to 3,540 reported thefts in the same period between 2021 and 2022.
Quadient received responses from 21 UK police forces, representing a population of 22,730,000 people. To calculate UK-wide figures, Quadient calculated the total number of thefts per person across this population, then multiplied by the UK population (67,330,000) – meaning an estimated 10,485 parcels were stolen between the time period in 2021 and 2022.
“Parcel theft is a growing issue in the UK. In the US there is a huge problem with ‘porch pirates’ following delivery trucks around neighborhoods and stealing parcels, and the police figures indicate criminals in the UK are increasingly recognizing the same lucrative opportunity,” said Ian Caminsky, SVP & MD parcel locker solutions UKI and DACHIT, Quadient.
“Police forces themselves have stated that the number of reported incidents is just the tip of the iceberg; after all, when parcels go missing, many people will often contact retailers and couriers, rather than the police. Yet this means the true scale of the problem facing retailers, couriers and building management remains unknown, meaning it is hard to inspire action. Something needs to change, because at the moment, this lack of understanding is playing into criminals’ hands.”
Additional findings from the FOI included:
- Criminals ‘working nine to five’: The most common time for thefts to occur was between 9:00am and 5:00pm. Forces also reported people aged 22-34 are the most likely to have a parcel stolen, suggesting that many parcels are stolen from young people while they are at work.
- 300 miles and £1,000+ apart: The highest average value for a stolen parcel was from City of London Police at £1,128 (US$1,330) – almost 10 times higher than the UK average. Conversely, Durham Constabulary reported an average of £9.78 (US$11.54) – less than a 10th of the UK average.
“Whether thefts are reported to the police or not, insurers, retailers and delivery companies are covering the cost of a huge hidden economy. Ultimately consumers foot the bill for this criminal activity, as the cost will be factored into pricing decisions – businesses need to work together to draw a line in the sand,” continued Caminsky.
“There are also more hidden costs to consider – for instance, the loss of trust from residents in apartments or office blocks, and the nagging fear that a much-anticipated Christmas gift or Black Friday bargain will be stolen away. Something has to change – industries and law enforcement need to be able to see the true scale of the problem. And we all need a concerted effort to increase the reliability and safety of parcel deliveries.”