SAN FRANCISCO — The dream of online shopping is never having to brave store parking lots, long lines or empty shelves. The reality, at least some of the time, is coming home to an empty box or no box at all.
More than half of Americans say they know someone who’s had a package stolen from outside their home, and 30% say they’ve experienced it themselves, according to a survey by Xfinity Home, Comcast’s home security service.
As the holiday count-down winds down, consumers face a tradeoff between convenience and the risk of letting expensive goods sit out in the open for anyone to snatch. That’s prompted some unusual work-arounds from consumers and increased the incentive for delivery services, home-security providers and some police departments to find ways to crack down on package thefts.
Roger Nyhus’ gardener was working in his Seattle yard when a young man calmly walked up the steps to the house and stole a just-delivered package from the front porch.
The gardener “dropped her pruners and ran after the guy and he dropped the box,” Nyhus said.
Nyhus wishes, for the gardener’s safety, that she had let the thief go. But he found the incident changed his buying behavior.
“Now I have all my personal stuff delivered to my office,” said Nyhus, who runs a public relations company called Nyhus Communications. “It kind of defeats the purpose of delivery.”