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Lost That Package? You’re Not Alone

As corporate mailrooms are overwhelmed by employees shipping personal packages to work for safekeeping, leading companies to ban packages, a new company is gambling that online shoppers  worried about not getting their packages will be willing to pay extra to ship them to a home-based network of package receivers in Brooklyn.

With online shopping surging, customers’ mounting frustration and anger over stolen packages are driving many to take creative and even extreme measures to keep items out of the hands of thieves, the New York Times reports.

In New York City,  over 90,000 packages a day are stolen or disappear without explanation, up 20 percent from four years ago. About 15 percent of all deliveries in urban areas fail to reach customers because of package theft and other issues like deliveries to the wrong house.

Online shoppers are turning to a variety of strategies to stymie thieves. Some are installing video doorbell cameras or replacing outdated mailboxes from a bygone era of postcards and letters with models that can accommodate large packages. Amazon started a real-time tracking service so shoppers can arrange to be home when a delivery arrives. UPS is working with a technology company to enable drivers to deposit orders for apartment buildings in locked rooms.

Amazon, UPS and FedEx offer an expanding network of secure delivery sites for packages when no one is home. Amazon has over 100 “Hub Lockers” in Manhattan alone. A growing number of bodegas, supermarkets, convenience stores, drugstores and florists are acting as makeshift package holding centers.

Around the U.S., 1.7 million packages are stolen or go missing every day — adding up to more than $25 million in lost goods and services, says José Holguín-Veras, an engineering professor and director of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Center of Excellence for Sustainable Urban Freight Systems.