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Phillips Introduces Bill to Combat Porch Piracy

Porch Pirates Act
Washington, D.C. —Today, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) introduced the Porch Pirates Act to combat increasing occurrences of package theft. The bill would apply the same federal penalties that apply to the theft of United States Postal Service (USPS) mail to the theft of commercial packages from private carriers such as Amazon, FedEx, and UPS.

“As e-commerce grows, so does the theft of packages from our front doors,” Phillips said. “That’s why it’s time to make porch piracy a federal crime and hold thieves accountable, whether a stolen package was delivered by the USPS or a private carrier.”

Online shopping has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, with one study showing a 40% increase in home delivery orders since March 2020. As online shopping has increased, so too have instances of porch piracy. One in five Americans reported having a package or delivery stolen during the pandemic.

“The rise in residential e-commerce deliveries since the onset of the pandemic has unfortunately been met with a steep rise in package theft,” said Lance Mangum, Vice President of Government Affairs at FedEx. “Every day, in every United States ZIP code, FedEx is connecting communities around the country by making deliveries to doorsteps. We are pleased to see the introduction of federal legislation that would establish a consistent set of penalties for theft of packages nationwide.”

Porch piracy is an increasingly dangerous crime as more Americans, especially our seniors, rely on delivery services for vital necessities such as medicine and groceries. American consumers lose hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars as victims of this crime – many with little recourse to recover their losses.

“Package theft is a growing concern for consumers as their shopping habits continue to shift online – resulting in more home deliveries,” said Mike Kiely, President of U.S. Public Affairs at UPS. “This proposed legislation would provide additional protection for all consumers, especially those requiring time-sensitive shipments of lifesaving pharmaceuticals and medical devices.”

In January 2022, reports came out about wide-spread package theft at a Los Angeles train depot, a part of the Union Pacific Railroad. Union Pacific reported that instances of theft and assault of their employees has increased 160% since last year, an estimated $5 million in claims, losses, and damages.

The current penalties for the theft of non-USPS mail are minimal. While some states have enacted stronger penalties for theft of non-USPS mail and packages, most have not – leaving the majority of Americans unprotected. This legislation is supported by the United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx.