Home Security

Do Police Investigate Stolen Packages?

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Woman sitting on steps of porch outside house looking downtrodden.
This poor lady just had all the packages stolen off her front porch. Is there anything she can do about it?

Unfortunately, package theft is not uncommon. Especially as people begin having more and more items delivered to their homes, the likelihood of stolen packages is increasing. However, there are several ways that you can report package theft, including filing a police report.

The police do investigate stolen packages, but whether or not police aid will be helpful can vary from case to case. In other words, if you do not have anything for them to go on — such as security camera footage — it could make their task of locating and recovering your package a challenging one.

Before You Report A Package As Stolen

It can be easy to panic immediately when you come home on the day your package was supposed to be delivered to find nothing there. In these situations, many of us may find ourselves immediately (and frantically) diving right into the refunding process. After all, you were looking forward to this package, and it may have even been a necessity.

But, before you jump onto your phone to notify the seller that you never received the package, you should ensure that the package is actually stolen. You do not want to be halfway through the refund process only to find that the package was not, in fact, stolen.

Make Sure It Was Delivered

You may have received a delivery confirmation email or text before coming home (although make sure it’s from the actual mailing company and not a scam) — hence your excitement-turned-horror when you didn’t find the package on your doorstep. But unfortunately, sometimes delivery companies can make mistakes. So, before you go jumping to conclusions, you should contact the delivery company directly.

Look Thoroughly

You could ask them if the package was actually delivered and when (and where) it was delivered. Maybe you were expecting it on the front porch, and they left it by the garage, for example (sometimes delivery people will try and leave higher value packages out of sight to prevent porch theft). The tracking system might also give you details about your package’s location. Amazon, for instance, typically provides photos of the package’s location after delivery.

It is also possible that someone else in your house — like a family member or roommate — has already brought the package inside. Make sure to check with anyone at home and check around your house to see if your package is sitting on a shoe rack or counter.

Ask Your Neighbors

While it is uncommon for a package to be delivered to the wrong address, it does happen occasionally. For example, it is possible that your neighbor received your package accidentally. Another possibility is that the delivery driver left your package with one of your neighbors because they were worried it would not be safe if left out on your porch.

What To Do If Your Package Was Stolen

Alright, you’ve asked around and looked thoroughly for your package and still come up empty. So now it is time to operate under the assumption that your package has been stolen. Maybe you think that one of your neighbors has stolen your package, or there has been a string of package thefts in your neighborhood, and you are certain that someone has stolen your package.

So, what do you do now?

Contact The Sender

The first thing you will want to do is contact the sender of the package. If the package came from a retailer, there is usually a good chance that they will work with you to devise a solution. This usually means replacing or refunding the order. Some retailers may immediately take over talking with the delivery company for you.

But what if the package came from a family member or friend? Unfortunately, in this case, all you can really do is let the person know that you did not receive the package. You may want to confirm that they put the correct address on the package. You can also file a theft report, and the police may be able to help you find the package.

Report The Theft To The Shipping Company

Delivery lady in reflective uniform checking tablet, with her other hand resting on a large cardboard box.
This delivery lady is hard at work trying to locate your lost package.

Each shipping company has its own processes for handling package theft. For example, USPS has the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), which handles mail theft cases. Depending on the shipping company, you may need to provide more or less information on the theft.

USPS (United States Postal Service)

If USPS delivered your package, you must complete a help request or file a mail theft complaint with USPIS.

UPS (United Parcel Service)

If UPS delivered your package, you would need to file a missing package claim. Remember that you cannot fill out this claim until 24 hours have passed since the supposed delivery time.

Fedex

If FedEx delivered your package, you could file a lost package claim. In general, it will take 5-7 business days for these claims to be resolved.

File A Police Report

You can also file a police report for any missing packages. This can be extremely effective if you have a doorbell or outdoor security camera, but if you do not have any, there may not be much the police can do. However, if your neighborhood has been experiencing a string of package thefts, the police will be more likely to get involved than if it is simply one package that has gone missing.

How To File A Police Report For Stolen Packages

Close-up of hand filling out police report for stolen package.
If your city does not have an online police report, you can probably visit your local law enforcement office and fill out a form in person.

Suppose you have exhausted your other options or have valuable evidence, such as camera footage of someone taking the package off your porch. In that case, you may wonder how to file a police report for stolen packages.

While the exact steps for filing a police report may differ based on location and local police department, the general process is quite simple. You can complete a police report online by searching for “[your town/city] online police report.” You should be able to easily follow the steps that your local police department takes for filing police reports.

You may also be able to file a report over the phone by contacting your local department’s non-emergency line or in person by visiting your local police department.

Do not contact 911 to report a package theft. This number is only for emergencies and should not be used for filing a police report.

How To Stop Porch Pirates

Package thefts are disappointing, scary, and, unfortunately, not uncommon. Unfortunately, after you have contacted the right people — the sender, shipping company, and police if desired — there is not much more you can do. Unfortunately, police investigations do not catch many package thieves because there is not enough information for them to go on.

You can, however, adopt certain practices to protect yourself from future package thefts. Our experts bring you our guide to stopping porch pirates.

Alex Schenker

Alex holds BS degrees in Management Science from the University of California at San Diego, and Computer Science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is honored to share his nearly two decades of experience in home security and automation, cybersecurity and identity theft protection with our readers. He realized it was time for a home security system when his neighbor’s house got broken into. He has tried to stay ahead of the curve by proactively applying security technologies and software that protect not only his home and family but his personal identity, sensitive information and finances. In his spare time, Alex enjoys playing tennis, going on hikes with his wife and dogs and surfing.

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