Doorstep parcel thefts rise 22% over three years

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Doorstep parcel thefts of ecommerce parcels in the UK are up a whopping 22% in a three year period according to some interesting research by iParcelBox. Using a freedom of information request they obtained data from 23 Police forces (about half of the Police forces in the UK responded), revealing a rise from 786 thefts in the financial year 2016-2017, 830 thefts in 2017-2018 and again up again to 962 in the financial year 2018-2019.

“It’s clear that the online shopping surge is fuelling a new crimewave of parcel thefts across the UK. For opportunistic thieves, the chance to steal an unattended parcel that is sitting on the doorstep is irresistible.

Asking the delivery driver to place your package under a flowerpot or behind your wheelie bin when you’re out should no longer be an option. Instead, it’s vital that all online shoppers ensure they have a secure, easy to use, delivery box in place to receive their parcels.”
– Paul Needler, founder, iParcelBox

The area with the highest levels of doorstep parcel thefts was Lancashire Constabulary, which reported 292 thefts in total and 108 in the last 12 months.

The West Country was also revealed as a hotspot for parcel crime with 20% of all thefts coming from this area. Devon and Cornwall Police reporting 264 thefts in total, with 91 in the last year. Meanwhile Avon and Somerset Police reported 262 incidents of parcel theft in total.

Additionally, Leicestershire Police reported a total of 216 thefts over the period, closely followed by West Midlands Police on 211 incidents.

The lowest areas of parcel theft came from Nottinghamshire Constabulary with only 21 accounts of parcel theft over a 3-year period (1 per cent of total figures). Other safe areas considered to have low levels of parcel theft were Durham Constabulary which recorded 28 reports of parcel thefts and North Wales Police, which reported only 34 incidents.

It’s worth noting that naturally iParcelBox have a vested interest in this research – they sell a smart, internet connected, secure and weatherproof parcel delivery box – but what is unquestionable is that the research is based on real reports.

Being pragmatic, with 30 million UK households the number of thefts means that only around 0.003% of households have reported a theft. That’s tiny so this is not a huge problem when taken nationally but what is more interesting is the steady year on year rise of reported incidents.

If doorstep parcel thefts continue to grow unchecked, with 22% growth over three years, the losses could quickly become meaningful and something you may want to consider building into your cost base. This may also depend upon who pays for the losses – is it the consumer, the retailer, or the carrier.

Marketplaces may be willing to swallow up such a tiny percentage of losses, reimburse consumers and not charge the retailer in cases where tracking verifies that the delivery took place. But if you are selling on your own website it will be between you the retailer and the carrier to make amends, if the consumer isn’t to be left out of pocket.

4 Responses

  1. It is an issue, together with claims of not recieved when left with another address in the street etc. We have now stopped doing anything with a value of more than £20 from being left at anywhere but the address stated and with a signiture.
    Sadly though too many drivers simply fake a signiture – yes it is obvious, or don’t bother despite what we state. Not helped by clauses in contracts that state they can do that if they chose!!!
    The problem with ‘leaving safe’ is you have no way of telling who is genuinely claiming and who is not so genuine…

  2. “This may also depend upon who pays for the losses – is it the consumer, the retailer, or the carrier.”

    ebay and Amazon have supported us on several cases this year where we have used the 2D tracking barcode from Royal Mail combined with Royal Mail email evidence confirming GPS location of delivery.

    It has been the marketplaces which take the loss.

    Good idea for every home to have a secure safeplace, just not sure how practical that is for many properties!

  3. More like “Dishonest buyers claiming parcel must have been stolen rises 22% over three years”

  4. @Danny
    22% is a drop in the ocean- I would say it’s a bigger rise. How many times have we all refunded without any evidence just to get rid of a noisy “customer”? We had one recently- the buyer won’t open an eBay item not received case however demanding full refund for a parcel showing as delivered and signed for. Why won’t they simply open the case? We have asked them to do this on 8 separate occasions but the same copy and paste email comes back about negative feedback blah blah blah


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