AI is policing the package theft beat for UPS as 'porch piracy' surge continues across U.S.


A doorbell camera in Chesterfield Virginia recently captured a man stealing a box that contained a new $1,600 iPad from a FedEx driver. A similar incident is reported almost every day. Package theft, often referred to as “porch piracy,” is a big crime business.

While the price tag of any single stolen package isn’t extreme — a study by found that the median value of stolen merchandise was $50 in 2022 — the absolute level of package theft is high and rising. According to SafeWise home security consultants, in 2022 260 million delivered package will be stolen. This is up from the 210 million packages that were stolen last year. It was estimated that 79% were victims of porch piracy last year. UPS’s API for Delivery Defense is one of the latest examples that will soon be widely deployed. It uses AI to reduce the risk of theft. Mark Robinson, the president of UPS Capital said that a 1,000 score for an address means we are confident that it will be delivered. Robinson explained that the addresses at the opposite end of the scale (100) are the ones where a loss is most likely to occur. If an address has a low score then the package recipient may recommend that they pick up their package in store or at a UPS pickup point.

The first version was intended to integrate with existing software from major retailers via the API — a beta test with Costco Wholesale Colorado has been conducted. The company refused to disclose information about the Costco partnership. Costco did not return a request for comment.

Delivery Defense, said Robinson, is “a decent way for merchants to help make better decisions about how to ship packages to their recipients. “

To meet the needs of more merchants, a web-based version is being launched for small- and medium-sized businesses on Oct. 18, just in time for peak holiday shipping season.

UPS says the decision about delivery options made to mitigate potential issues and enhance the customer experience will ultimately rest with the individual merchant, who will decide whether and how to address any delivery risk, including, for example, insuring the shipment or shipping to a store location for pickup.

UPS already offers its Access Points program, which lets consumers have packages shipped to Michaels and CVS locations to ensure safe deliveries.

How Amazon, Fedex, DHL attempt to prevent theft

UPS isn’t alone in fighting porch piracy.

Among logistics competitors, DHL relies on one of the oldest methods of all — a “signature first” approach to deliveries in which delivery personnel are required to knock on the recipient’s door or ring the doorbell to obtain a signature to deliver a package. DHL customers have the option to leave shipments at their doorstep without signing. In such cases, the delivery person takes a picture of the package to prove that it was delivered. A


rep said that the company offers its own picture proof of delivery and FedEx Delivery Manager, which lets customers customize their delivery preferences, manage delivery times and locations, redirect packages to a retail location and place holds on packages.


has several features to help ensure that packages arrive safely, such as its two- to four-hour estimated delivery window “to help customers plan their day,” said an Amazon spokesperson. Amazon also offers photo-on delivery, which offers visual delivery confirmation and key-in-garage Delivery, which lets eligible Amazon Prime members receive deliveries in their garage.Debate over doorbell camerasAmazon has also been known for its attempts to use new technology to help prevent piracy, including its Ring doorbell cameras — the gadget maker’s parent company was acquired by the retail giant in 2018 for a reported $1 billion.

Camera images can be important when filing police reports, according to Courtney Klosterman, director of communications for insurer Hippo. Some experts have said that the technology is not effective in reducing porch piracy. Julie Litvin in Central Islip installed a camera after she saw thieves steal more than ten packages last month. After that, she quickly captured footage of a woman stealing from her front door. She reported the incident to police, but claimed that her building’s management didn’t appear interested in helping. He said that many thieves would walk up to the cameras, look at them, and then take the package. SafeWise statistics show that 6/10 people will have packages stolen by 2022. Rebecca Edwards is a security expert at SafeWise. She said that this data reinforces the idea that cameras do not stop theft. Edwards stated that “I do not think cameras are deterrents anymore.” The best ways to prevent delivery crimes

The increased number of packages delivered has made it more attractive for thieves. She said, “I believe it has been on the increase since the pandemic because we have all received a lot of packages.” It’s an opportunity crime, and the opportunities have grown so much. “

Edwards said that the two most-effective measures consumers can take to thwart theft are requiring a signature to leave a package and dropping the package in a secure location, like a locker.

Large lockboxes start at around $70 and for the most sophisticated can run into the thousands of dollars.

Stickle recommends a lockbox to protect your packages. “Sometimes, people call to ask if someone could break into the box. Stickle replied, “Well, yes, it’s possible.” But if they can’t see it, they won’t come to your home to steal it. Even some local police departments are willing to hold packages. Even some local police departments are willing to hold packages.

The UPS AI comes at a time of concerns about rapid deployment of artificial intelligence, and potential bias in algorithms.

UPS says that Delivery Defense relies on a dataset derived from two years’ worth of domestic UPS data, encompassing an extensive sample of billions of delivery data points. A UPS spokesperson said that data fairness was built into the model. The model focuses “exclusively” on delivery characteristics, rather than individual data. In a certain area, for example, an apartment complex may have a secure mailroom, complete with lockboxes and chains of custody. However, a nearby complex might not. This makes it more susceptible to package losses. The API costs $3,000 a month. The web version will be offered to a broader group of small businesses in October. A subscription service starting at $99 per month, with other pricing options available for larger customers.