2019 Package Theft Statistics - Northern Boston Suburbs

2019 Package Theft Statistics for Northern Boston Suburbs

According to a 2017 package theft report, 31% of 1000 survey respondents stated that they had personally experienced package theft.

But that was a national study from 2017 -- how does Massachusetts stack up in 2019?

We wanted to find out. So we ran a variety of polls and surveys to evaluate stolen package issues in Massachusetts.

For this batch of data, we focused on getting package theft statistics for the northern suburbs of Boston.

If you would like to tell us your own experience, you can take our package theft survey for northern Boston suburbs. We'll try our best to keep this article up-to-date as more people contribute to the survey.

If you're interested in seeing package theft statistics for a different area, let us know by taking our other package theft survey.

Before we begin....

Thank you so much to the many people who participated in our polls and surveys. It wouldn't be possible to build this sort of article without your help.

In an effort to raise awareness about stolen and missing packages, we've created a new public Facebook group: Massachusetts Missing and Stolen Packages.

One of the biggest reasons that porch pirates and package thieves succeed is because we don't tell our neighbors about package theft. And sometimes missing packages weren't stolen -- they were just misdelivered to a neighbor!

This group allows neighbors to seek assistance in finding missing packages and helps notify neighbors of local package thieves. Please feel free to join and share.

Package theft statistics for Massachusetts

The above referenced study found that about a third of people in the United States had experienced package theft.

Other package theft studies indicate that Massachusetts has a fairly low rate of package theft -- about 0.21 packages stolen per capita.

We asked 1048 residents from Arlington, Chelsea, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Revere, Stoneham, and Woburn the following question: have your packages ever been stolen or gone missing while living in your current town? Of those polled, 19% said they had, while the remaining 81% said they had not.

If you're interested in seeing how specific towns answered, scroll down to the "Package theft statistics by town" section. But before we get to that, let's talk about how we collected all this data in three separate but connected surveys.

If you want even more information on our methods, scroll to the very bottom of this article and read the "Methodology" section.

Survey 1: Have your packages ever been stolen or gone missing while living in your current town?

As stated above, 1000+ Massachusetts residents participated in this survey, which was conducted by polling Facebook groups.

The participants could only answer "Yes" or "No" to the question. However, we've included some of the many comments, anecdotes, and suggestions from participants in this article -- keep reading to see what people had to say.

Here are the groups we surveyed and details about them (as of April 16, 2019):

While we do present the poll results for each town within this article, remember that each Facebook group had a varying number of members and amount of activity.

So the number of "Yes" and "No" votes from each town may be as much a measure of Facebook group activity as it is a measure of package theft rates.

For instance, 5.8% of the "Malden (MA) Politics" group participated in our poll, while only 1.7% of the "Chelsea, MA What's Happening" group participated. Yet Chelsea residents made up 14.9% of the 1048 poll participants and Malden residents only made up 12.3%.

Stolen Package Poll Participation by Facebook Group

Stolen Package Poll Participation by Town

All of this is to say: be careful about directly comparing package theft rates among towns using this data.

That being said, we believe that the aggregate result (19% of people reporting stolen or missing packages) is reasonably accurate because of the large number of participants. Our findings also line up very well with the previous studies referenced above.

Missing packages vs. stolen packages

We got a lot of questions about why we worded the question for this poll in the way we did.

When your package goes missing, it hasn't necessarily been stolen. But from an inconvenience standpoint, whether a package was stolen or simply misdelivered doesn't matter much.

When your package goes missing, the reality is that you'll probably never know if it's been stolen, delivered to an incorrect address, or fell off the back of a truck somewhere.

So we simply wanted to cover the scenario where participants were not sure what had happened to their packages.

Survey 2: Extended questions about missing and stolen packages

We also wanted to see how length of residence and package ordering frequency affected package theft rates.

Of the 1048 people polled in survey 1, 27 were kind enough to take our extended package theft survey.

We asked them the same question: Have your packages been stolen or gone missing before? This time, 33% of people said their packages had been stolen or gone missing.

But we also asked them how many years they had lived in their current town and how often they ordered things online.

Package Theft and Duration of Residence

Package Theft and Frequency of Online Ordering

It's difficult to draw meaningful conclusions with such a small sample size, but some interesting patterns do start to emerge.

Firstly, most people ordered things online 4-5 times per month, which lines up with previous package theft studies. Secondly, most people had lived in their current town for 2-5 years.

We didn't see any direct correlation between duration of residence, frequency of online ordering, and likelihood of package theft, but a larger number of participants would be required to accurately assess.

If you'd like to help out, take our package theft survey!

Survey 3: Why do you want to use our service?

We polled people in the Greater Boston area, asking them about our service.

We explained that Always Home Delivery offers a package receiving service to help prevent missed deliveries and stolen packages.

In a nutshell, our users order their products online and ship them to us. We then deliver the packages to them within a 1-hour delivery window of their choosing, any time of the day or night.

Of the people we surveyed, 47% agreed or strongly agreed that they would use our service to avoid stolen packages.

As found in surveys 1 and 2, this is indicative of a general concern about package theft in the Greater Boston area.

Package theft statistics by town

So this is probably what most people were interested in seeing. As stated above, take these results with a grain of salt as they were obtained via survey 1.

Our findings are summarized below. Read on to learn more about package theft statistics for individual towns.

Stolen Package Poll For Northern Boston Suburbs

Population density and package theft

Two of the Massachusetts towns reporting the most package theft and missing packages were Chelsea and Malden. These two towns also had by far the highest population densities of the suburbs we investigated.

Chelsea has the 29th highest population density among U.S. cities, ranking just below Cambridge, MA at 26th. Malden was well below that, with the 100th highest population density.

So it's plausible that package theft rates would indeed be higher in these areas, due to the types of housing and difficulty of delivery.

Package theft statistics in Chelsea, MA

My packages were stolen quite frequently when I first moved to Chelsea 18 years ago, which is why I now have just about everything delivered to my office in Boston or to the Amazon locker at 7-11 on Broadway.

Member of Chelsea, MA What’s Happening

Once my packages were delivered to the wrong address but not stolen. In my case it was 12 boxes! Thankfully my neighbor, who didn't know me, was honest enough to let me know. How we have our packages addressed matters greatly!

Member of Chelsea, MA What’s Happening

The standout here is Chelsea, with 52% of people reporting that their packages had been stolen or had gone missing. Why would this be?

One of the biggest differentiating factors between Chelsea and other towns we polled was its very high population density.

This would make it a great target for package thieves and, additionally, one of the more logistically challenging delivery locations.

On top of that, it's possible that our poll results are inflating stolen package problems in Chelsea.

Our results were gathered from the Chelsea, MA What’s Happening Facebook group. That group has around 9,500 members, which is almost a quarter of Chelsea's 40,000 residents.

At first glance, this seems like a good sampling of the population. However, only 1.7% of group members participated in our poll, so the results might not be representative of the entire community.

In fact, the same assertion could be made about towns at the other end of the spectrum.

For instance, only 2.2% of the Melrose Ma Community Group participated in our poll, with a mere 12% reporting that they had dealt with a stolen or missing package. This figure could be undershooting the actual package theft rate.

Prevent stolen packages and missing packages with AH Delivery. Try our service for free -- no credit card required!

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Package theft statistics in Stoneham, MA

No, but we’ve had packages delivered to the wrong address or received packages that were not meant for us. [It's] happened a handful of times and it’s always been an issue with USPS.

Member of Stoneham Community Group

Packages are most often mis-delivered, not stolen.

Stoneham Resident Responding to Survey 2

Stoneham had the 2nd highest number of survey participants at 193, accounting for 18% of the votes.

Only 9% of Stoneham residents that we polled reported that their packages had been stolen or gone missing.

Respondents complained of misdeliveries (packages being delivered to the wrong address) in the area more than stolen packages. In fact, Stoneham had the highest frequency of misdelivery comments among the polled suburbs.

One user did complain that their order of Shari's Berries was stolen though, so clearly there are some depraved criminals roaming the streets of Stoneham.

Package theft statistics in Malden, MA

I live in a med size condo building and have had things stolen. Now [I] use a local Amazon locker and don’t have to worry about this issue anymore.

Malden Resident Responding to Survey 2

Never had an issue. Though one package from amazon states it was delivered but I never received it. Don’t know if it was stolen or lost. This happened over 8 years ago. Ever since [then] our weekly packages from amazon have all arrived and I received them.

Member of Malden Young Families

The above quote is a good illustration of why we worded our questions the way we did. Most of the time, people simply don't know what happened to their packages.

As an aside, Always Home Delivery has also written an article discussing what to do if Amazon orders don't arrive.

Malden Facebook groups were some of the most engaged participants in our investigation. Within the Malden (MA) Politics group, 5.8% of members voted in our poll.

The Malden Young Families group also had great participation with 4.2% of members reponding to our poll.

Additionally, Over 30% of the participants in our extended package theft survey (survey 2) lived in Malden.

Malden residents accounted for 12% of survey respondents and 25% of them reported that they had experienced package theft or missing packages.

Based on the high degree of engagement from Malden residents, it's likely that their poll results are among the more representative and accurate.

Package theft statistics in Woburn, MA

Wow, based on posts within this group, I would have assumed more packages have been stolen or gone missing.

Member of Woburn Residents (Woburn, MA)

Woburn residents reported the lowest rate of missing and stolen packages, at just 5%. They accounted for 17% of the total survey responses.

This is a great example of why you shouldn't rely on anecdotal evidence.

Just a few days beforehand, someone within the Woburn Facebook group had complained of a missing package. And other people within the group had previously complained of package theft and misdelivery.

But the poll responses point to a very low rate of package theft in Woburn.

Package theft statistics in Melrose, MA

Yes but my pkg was found tossed and opened at the Winthrop school. Pkg was stolen from top step.

Member of Melrose Ma Community Group

I recently had an amazon package delivered to the wrong house, but nothing ever stolen. I’m pleasantly surprised too because I live on a main road and the house is close to the sidewalk.

Member of Melrose Ma Community Group

With 233 votes, Melrose residents accounted for 22% of the poll responses -- the largest showing by any single town.

Of the Melrose residents we surveyed, 12% stated that their packages had been stolen or gone missing while living there.

As with Stoneham residents, respondents from Melrose frequently complained of packages being delivered to incorrect addresses.

Package theft statistics in Medford, MA

Unfortunately, we only received 21 votes in total from Medford residents, so the results here are less reliable.

This was likely because the two Medford groups we surveyed did not have very active members.

Of the Medford residents we polled, 33% reported stolen or missing packages.

Package theft statistics in Arlington, MA

I’m renting in a condo building and we [had] 2 girls on video ring all the bells to gain access to the building and grab my box on the way in. They went to the laundry room where they were rummaging [through] it until [they] were interrupted and fled. Police report filed, video handed over. Company I ordered from replaced the missing products. I’ve been here for a little over 3 years now and that was the only incident of theft. Other packages have been delivered to the wrong building a few times. Most residents in my building now bring all packages behind the locked door when they come [through].

Member of Arlington, MA Current Residents

Arlington residents accounted for 7% of the votes in our package theft poll and 11% of those reported that their packages had been stolen or gone missing.

One respondent pointed out that their biggest concern was actually the shipping agent (USPS, FedEx, Amazon, UPS, etc.). These kinds of comments were made across multiple towns, but there was no definitively problematic carrier.

More likely than not, the carrier you encounter issues with will be dependent on your location (and the person or persons delivering packages in that area).

Package theft statistics in Revere, MA

Once in the last 30 years.

Member of City of Revere MA Resident Discussion

With 57 votes, Revere residents made up just 5% of our poll participants. However, 4.2% of the City of Revere MA Resident Discussion group members voted in our survey, demonstrating good engagement.

Of the residents polled, 21% stated that their packages had gone missing or been stolen while living in Revere.

Avoid missing and stolen packages

If you're tired of dealing with stolen or missing packages, try using the package receiving service offered by Always Home Delivery.

We receive your packages for you at our address, then deliver them to your doorstep within a 1-hour delivery window of your choosing.

Currently, our services are only offered in Massachusetts.

If you're located in another state and you're interested in using our services, get in touch and let us know! If we get enough interest from a new region, we may begin offering our services there.

Methodology

We began polling for surveys 1 and 2 on April 12, 2019 at 1:00 PM. We counted Facebook poll votes up to April 14, 2019.

Survey 1 was delivered via Facebook poll to the groups outlined above.

The same questions were delivered to each Facebook group, with the names of towns changed. For example: Have your packages ever been stolen or gone missing while living in Malden?

Survey 2 was delivered via Google Forms, but was included as a link in the survey 1 poll description.

There were some errors in voting that needed to be corrected for best results:

  • Some people replied "Yes" or "No" to the poll in a comment instead of selecting an option in the Facebook poll itself. In this case, we added their vote to the final count.
  • Some people voted more than once for a given town by voting in multiple Facebook groups. In this case, we counted their multiple votes as a single vote for a given town.
  • Some people commented that their packages had gone missing, but that they weren't sure what had happened to them. Almost invariably, these participants indicated that their packages had never been stolen and had never gone missing by voting "No". In this case, we did not correct their vote within the final vote count.

Comments and anecdotes included in this article were taken from Facebook comments on survey 1 and submitted comments on survey 2.

Comments were anonymized (e.g., member of group X) to respect the privacy of the commenters.

Comments that gave away personally identifying information (e.g., where the commenter lived) were left out of this article to respect the privacy of the commenters.