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Stealing packages from home: a lot of problems!

Stealing packages from home: a lot of problems!

Steve Pippen was at home last July, looking out the living room window from time to time. His new iPad, obtained through a points program from his employer, must be delivered by FedEx between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

1:23 p.m., Pumpkin! He receives a notice of the long-awaited delivery, with a photo of the package on his door. Surprisingly, the delivery man did not ring the bell. Steve Pippen opens the door: Nothing. There is no trace of the package. How could it disappear within a minute of notification?

I called FedEx immediately. […] The file is closed due to photo evidence of my iPad being delivered. So they are [les employés de FedEx] He told me there was no responsibility on their partnarrates Steve Pippen, who was under the impression that he had the burden of proof.

We hear of people saying “I got robbed” only to end up getting two. I didn't want to look like that.

Then Mr. Pippin went to knock on his neighbours' doors. He said I don't have a camera. The neighbor across the street has one. The neighbor on the side, the third neighbor, has cameras.

Steve Pippen's package was stolen off his porch last summer.

Photo: Radio-Canada

By watching the footage from five different angles covering the entire street, he discovered what looked like a carefully planned robbery.

Planned trip?

The footage shows that a few minutes before the delivery truck arrived, a black car was parked near his home. Someone came out and walked near his house and took a quick look at it.

A FedEx truck arrived a few minutes later and parked behind it, while trucks, according to Mr. Pippin, usually stop in front of the delivery site. The delivery man dropped the package aside, got back into his truck, walked back, Can't see itSteve Pippen thinks.

The delivery notice that Steve Pippen received on July 15, 2023 included a photo of the package on his front porch.

Steve Pippen received a photo notification at 1:23 PM telling him that his package was delivered at 1:15 PM.

Photo: Radio-Canada

After a few moments, the person returned, grabbed the package, and left. Only after the thief left was the delivery notice sent to Steve Pippin.

If I didn't have those cameras, I would have no way to prove that someone had stolen them from me.

FedEx confirms that it received the photos sent by Steve Pépin and investigated this event, without disclosing the results to us.

Crimes are on the rise

Because the popularity of online commerce is relatively recent, little research has been conducted on the topic. A tour of the steps. But there is general agreement that this crime is on the rise.

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Package theft is a crime of opportunity. The longer packages stay on the porch, the more likely they are to be stolenestimated American criminologist Ben Stickle.

In 2019, he signed one of the first studies on this type of crime. He noted, among other things, that fences, cameras and guards seemed to have little effect on thieves.

Parcel theft is not only a problematic crime for consumers because of the cost and frustration it causes, but it is also a concern for retailers because this crime is a result of current delivery practices.We read in this study.

Package delivery.

About 119 million packages are likely to be stolen in the United States in 2022, according to a study conducted by the American company SafeWise.

Photo: Radio-Canada

According to a survey by Angus Reid, commissioned by FedEx, 28% of Canadians surveyed who made an online purchase in 2023 said they had been victims of package theft. This percentage was 20% in 2021.

In the delivery area, the choice of security level is up to the person sending the package. Delivery with signature costs more.

However, FedEx (at its own expense) requires a signature from the recipient when the value of the package is $500 or more. But shipping companies still need to disclose this rule, which they don't always do. This may explain why Steve Pippen, whose package was nonetheless worth nearly $1,000, was not requested to sign.

The merchant to whom the package was sent preferred not to answer our questions.

Consumers pay the bill

Steve Pippen was quickly compensated by the dealer. He immediately ordered a second iPad. Surprisingly… the same merchant did not request that the package be delivered to him personally with a supporting signature. It's an extra step, but one that protects everyone: the delivery company, the shipper, and the customer.he thinks.

This does not surprise Jean Carrier, e-commerce logistics consultant at eMission. What are the costs? The delivery man should come to the door. It should ring. Let him wait until someone comes to answer him. If no one is there, he leaves with the package and will have to make another delivery the next day. Therefore there are additional costsHe explains.

The sender will therefore make a calculation based on costs and benefits. How many iPads are stolen every year? He will then conclude that of the 100 or 200 iPads sent annually, X number are stolen. It may not be worth it; Signing will cost moreIt is clear.

But millions of packages stolen from people's shelves represent a financial loss that is necessarily reflected in the prices of the products. A report by the American company SafeWise estimates that in 2022, in the United States, 119 million packages left on stilts were stolen, representing an estimated value of more than 8 billion Canadian dollars, which merchants must absorb.

It's difficult to get accurate statistics on what happens in terms of amounts stolen each year, but we do know that there are some numbers. There is fraud, and then there are organized schemes to steal packages out the door“, confirms Jean Carrier, who worked for several years at Canada Post.

Steve Pippen, Be it any company, if there are thefts, they have to recover somewhere. It is always the consumer, in the end, who pays for it.

What do you do with these photos?

Confronted with the eloquence of photos obtained from his neighbors, Steve Pippin would have liked the police to investigate. It was rather frustrating. I was told that they didn't have time to investigate small thefts like this, and that I was wasting my timeHe says.

This does not surprise Michael Gillette, director of investigations and intelligence at Commissionnaires du Québec, an agency specializing in security and investigations. He stresses that proving collusion between the thief and the delivery worker is not an easy task.

Michael Gillette is the Director of Investigations and Intelligence at Commissionnaires du Québec, a non-profit organization that provides investigative and security services.

According to Michael Gillett, an expert in investigations and security, it is better to prevent package theft than to invest in lengthy police investigations.

Photo: Radio-Canada

From a criminal standpoint, the matter leaves no room for doubt. Could collusion be at the distribution level? Or elsewhere in the company? It would be sufficient for the defense to leave a reasonable doubtHe explains.

Deployment would be needed to verify several hypotheses, which would require significant effort in terms of human resources, for a smaller theft.

She rarely reported to the police

However, Michael Gillet believes that it is important to report thefts, so that the police can act if a wave of thefts occurs in a particular area.

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Jean Carrère, of eMission, confirms that the police are generally not informed. Everyone's first instinct: contact the sender, who will most often take care of returning the new box.

This is also what the Consumer Protection Bureau recommends doing. According to the law, it is the merchant who the consumer who wants to compensate when he did not receive the item ordered online or by phone must contact the merchant.

According to the FedEx survey, only 7% of theft victims surveyed said they filed a police report in the past year.

In Laval, where Steve Pippin lives, police counted 374 package thefts on its territory, again last year. If the reporting rate were the same, the number of thefts would be more than 5,000 in 2023.

Secure your package

When a consumer is expecting a high-value package and the online merchant does not offer signature delivery, the best solution is to ask the delivery company to keep the package in a safe place and pick it up at the nearest counter.

Although it is not complicated, it does require the consumer to become familiar with the parcel delivery procedures. It is the consumer who must take this step with the carrier“, concludes Jean Carrier.

Oddly enough, this option was not available for sending the second package to Mr. Pippin. But the packet forwarding test was done by invoice successful.

According to e-commerce logistics specialist, the pinnacle of secure delivery is Smart locker – From the English expression Smart locker -, that is, lockers of all sizes installed near homes such as Canada Post mailboxes, where all delivery workers can leave packages.

Smart lockers will have the advantage of reducing truck traffic in residential neighborhoods, eliminating theft and reducing delivery times. However, except in densely populated urban areas, installing these safes is complex in terms of financing, operation and location, advises Jean Carrier.

However, Steve Pippen's adventure brought him something good: Since this episode, when packages arrive to us, if we are not there, the neighbors will take the packages, and leave us a note: “We have your package!” Everyone felt anxious, because everyone was receiving them, the delivery.

In collaboration with Isabelle Roberge

The report prepared by journalist François Sanchi, research journalist Isabelle Roberge and director Stephanie Desforges is available on the programme's website. invoice.