5 minute read

Searching for Porch Pirates

Using Google AdWords data, we’ve compiled a list of locations with the most stolen and lost packages by each US city, state, and courier.

We used Google AdWords to pinpoint which states, cities, and couriers have the most issues with stolen and missing packages. 

Key takeaways

  • Washington, D.C., Vermont, and North Dakota were the places with the most searches per capita for lost packages. 
  • Sunnyvale, CA, and Bellevue, WA, were the cities with the most searches per capita for lost packages. 
  • The US Postal Service had the most searches about missing packages in the past five years, followed by Amazon. 
  • Amazon and UPS both saw a 15% increase in searches for missing packages this year.

Suburban pirates

As the holidays roll around, porch pirates have their eyes on your doorstep. Package theft is a pain for retailers and consumers alike, so we’ve looked into which places are most prone to this seasonal scourge. 

Using Google Adwords data, we’ve compiled a list of locations with the most stolen packages in recent years. We also found out which shipping companies were responsible for most of them.  

State of the union

We’ll start by finding the places with the highest package theft rate per capita, using search history over the last five years. Let’s find out how your home state or district stacks up.

Places with the most lost packages over the past 5 years

Washington, D.C., secured the top spot for the most lost packages, with about 670 Google searches for missing or stolen packages in the last five years per 100,000 residents. That’s more than double the searches made in runner-up Vermont.

Packages seemed better protected down South. Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi residents have made the fewest searches for missing deliveries. 

Key takeaway: Washington, D.C., residents made the most searches for stolen and missing packages over the past five years.

Theft by numbers

We next looked into which cities had the most people searching for their missing packages.

Cities with the most porch pirates

Sunnyvale, CA, saw roughly 1.5% of its population searching for missing or stolen packages recently. California was also home to two other cities in the top ten: Hayward and Pomona. 

In 2020, Sunnyvale’s median household income was around $150,000, while that of runner-up Bellevue, WA, was close to $130,000. It was far less — under $71,000 — in Glendale, CA, which was way down at number 28 on our list.

This could mean package theft is more common in high-income cities. Either way, it’s better to be safe than sorry! 

Key takeaway: California is home to three of the top ten cities for most missing package searches in recent years.

Piracy on the rise

With porch pirate season (aka the holidays) approaching, let’s take a look at where they’ve been the most active lately. Here are the places where Google searches on the topic have been most common this year.

Where porch pirates are busiest in 2022

Washington, D.C., had the unfortunate designation as the place with the highest increase in missing package searches this year, climbing by almost 24% in 2022. That’s a huge difference compared to Texas, which came in last with just a 0.1% increase.

The increases by city, however, were far higher. Lincoln, Nebraska’s searches rose 36% this year, and Lancaster, California, wasn’t far behind, as their queries for missing and lost packages increased by 31%.

Key takeaway: Washington, D.C., and Lincoln, NE, have seen the greatest increases of online queries related to stolen and missing packages.

Are the shippers to blame?

The final point we researched was the loss of packages by company. Of the nation’s largest shipping companies, who has lost the most packages in the past five years?

Who's losing the packages?

USPS and Amazon both led the pack with the highest increase in searches for missing packages from these couriers. Amazon and UPS also saw a 15% rise in consumer queries for lost goods. 

In third place, FedEx was just ahead of UPS. But DHL came in last with the fewest searches related to undelivered or stolen deliveries in the last few years. 

Key takeaway: USPS had the most searches related to undelivered or stolen packages in the past five years.

Be warned and take precautions

What can you do if your city or state is a hotspot for porch pirates?

Doorbell cameras, locked gates, and security system signs might mean the difference between a thief choosing whether or not it’s worth it to steal from you. You might also want to consider using alternate delivery locations, like your workplace or the home of a friend or family member who’s available to accept your packages in person for you.

Pickup lockers are another great option that are often available in public places. Drivers deliver your packages to the locker, secure the door, and then you retrieve your items when it’s convenient for you.

No matter which option you choose, it’s just a matter of keeping packages from sitting by your front door unattended — because if a porch pirate sees an easy opportunity, they’ll take it.

Aside from security investments or alternative deliveries, tracking your packages closely and making sure someone’s home to receive them is the next best thing. With so much precious cargo arriving at your door this holiday season, a watchful eye not only ensures it’s protected from thieves — it also allows time for replacements and refunds in the event of a lost package.


Circuit Package Tracker used Google Adwords data over the last five years related to missing and stolen packages. 

About Circuit Package Tracker

Circuit Package Tracker is a free tracking tool that helps you find packages from over 1,000 couriers worldwide.

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About the author

Heather Reinblatt
Heather ReinblattContributor

Heather Reinblatt is a managing editor currently living in St. Louis, Missouri. She spends her free time reading, trying new recipes, and cuddling her cat Paisley. You can find Heather on LinkedIn.