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Package Theft


Commerce around the world is shifting rapidly. Consumers purchase a wide variety of items online and have products delivered directly to their residences. The type and value of items shipped have also shifted and now include televisions, phones, computers, jewelry, and even groceries. In short, the volume of items shipped each day is dramatically increasing, and so is the value of these shipments.

As a result, a new form of crime has emerged and is gaining popularity—porch piracy. Not only has this crime captured the attention of social media and news organizations, but now police, retailers, the supply chain industry, and shippers are taking note as the frequency and destructive nature of this crime cannot continue unopposed.

Unfortunately, we know little about how this crime is committed, where and when it occurs, who is responsible, or how victims respond. Until recently, there was no definition for package theft. What is more, most police departments do not track package theft.

Identifying methods and techniques to prevent package theft is challenging without answering these fundamental questions. This is where my journey began; leveraging the skills and experience from a career in policing with the research capacity of a university and a focus on environmental criminology to address this emerging type, package theft.

Package Theft: “Taking possession of a package or its contents, outside of a residence or business, where it has been commercially delivered or has been left for commercial pick-up, with intent to deprive the rightful owner of the contents.” (Hicks, Stickle, Harms, 2020)

To learn more about package theft and porch pirates, review the scholarly publications, practitioner articles, and related media appearances below. My team and I are available for consulting, media interviews, and assisting any organization interested in tackling the problem of package theft.

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Package theft, Porch pirates, Preventing package theft, Package theft solutions, Stolen parcels, Package security, Anti-theft

Scholarly Publications

Assessing the Fear of Package Theft

American Journal of Criminal Justice

Porch Pirates: Examining Unattended Package Theft Through Crime Script Analysis

Criminal Justice Studies

Package Theft in a Pandemic

University College London, Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science

Research Team

Ben Stickle is a recognized expert and industry forerunner addressing loss in the last mile of delivery, focusing on package theft. His work includes scholarly articles on COVID-19’s impact on crime, package theft, and practitioner-focused articles in The Mail & Express Review, Loss Prevention Magazine, Security Management, and The Business Insider. Ben’s research has appeared in over 100 news reports, websites, and blogs, including Good Morning America, US News & World Report, New York Times, NBC Investigative Reporting, AARP, WGN Chicago, Readers Digest, and others. Ben has presented to the Loss Prevention Research Council, WMX, Post & Parcel Live, Clear Link Consumer Brands, ASIS International, E-P-Pack, and more.

Melody Hicks holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Middle Tennessee State University. After completing a funded Graduate Research Assistantship at MTSU, she works for a local police agency in the Office of Professional Responsibility. Her research interests focus on situational crime prevention, video data analysis, and fear of crime research. She is the co-author of two academic articles on package theft.

Amy Stickle is a Mathematics Lecturer at Middle Tennessee State University. Teaching courses in Algebra and Statistics, her research interests include math anxiety and the application of mathematical and statistical concepts in criminal justice.

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