With the holidays come more packages delivered to house doors, but New Mexicans may also expect more of those packages to be stolen.
Package theft is a growing problem as more people increasingly rely on the convenience of online shopping and direct home deliveries. New data show New Mexico ranks fourth in having the most package thefts in the U.S.
North Dakota, Vermont and Arkansas were the only states with more reported package theft than New Mexico.
The theft problem has delivery companies UPS and FedEx updating their security through technology. Both carriers offer online enrollment where consumers can customize where packages are to be delivered and what time.
“The vast majority of the 750 million packages UPS will ship during this holiday season will be successfully delivered,” said Kim Krebs, UPS Media Relations Manager.“UPS technologies and programs help keep packages from unintended hands.”
FedEx suggests using their online resources to customize home delivery to guarantee the package is being delivered safely.
“We encourage our customers to sign up for FedEx Delivery Manager to help manage their holiday deliveries,” said Rae Lyn Rushing, a FedEx spokeswoman. “All year long we work with our drivers to be aware of their surroundings and report any unusual activities,” Rushing said, adding the customers can sign up free at fedex.com/delivery.
The theft issue has become a market opportunity for tech companies offering home security devices. A common product is a front porch camera giving homeowners the ability to view who is approaching their front door.
Blink, an online security company, states in their new online survey that 10,000 people with home surveillance systems in New Mexico are more likely to get their Christmas gifts stolen from their front porch than almost anywhere else in the U.S.
Krebs of UPS says the problem is being overhyped. “Media attention to these rare occurrences has increased due to expanded use of video surveillance technology available to consumers,” Krebs said. “UPS delivers more than 19 million packages every day and our data indicate that the rate of incidents involving UPS has been relatively flat over the last few years.”
According to Package Guard, a company that created a smart alarm disk that helps prevent “porch pirates” from stealing packages, says 11 million homeowners have had a package stolen in the last year. Moreover, they say 41% of homeowners have avoided some purchases online for fear of package theft.
Amazon — the huge online shopping portal — also saw a need to address package pirates. Amazon is rolling out a new system, Amazon Key, where delivery drivers are given access to homes to leave packages inside.
Preventative actions advised by FedEx and UPS include sending shipments to where you know some can receive it immediately, such as a workplace or a friend’s house. You can also inform the delivery driver of a secure package drop-off spot or, use mailbox services at local UPS and FedEx stores.
APD Officer Tanner Tixier also advises getting a secure mailbox to ensure receiving your package.
“There are no specific tactics to prevent package theft. It is kind of hard since it’s a random crime,” said Tixier.