Police warning after rise in theft of parcels by 'doorstep pirates'

December 06 2021
Police warning after rise in theft of parcels by 'doorstep pirates'

POLICE have warned of an increasing trend in thefts of parcels and mail from people's doorsteps over the past year.

News of the rise in crimes by so-called “doorstep pirates” comes as many people are ordering gifts from delivery companies such as Amazon ahead of Christmas.

Chief inspector Dan Forster, Avon and Somerset Police’s area commander for South Gloucestershire, said the number of reported incidents of theft of parcels and mail from people’s doorsteps in the district had nearly tripled in the past year, when compared with the previous 12 months.

A total of 58 incidents were reported in the year to November, compared with 20 in the previous 12 months, he told members of South Gloucestershire’s multi-agency community safety partnership.

Chief Insp Forster said that although the reported numbers “aren’t huge”, police are unsure about how many incidents are going unreported.

He said: “If you imagine that you order something from Amazon and it doesn’t arrive because it’s been stolen from your doorstep, do you necessarily report that?

"Do you know it was stolen, or do you just phone up Amazon and they send you another one?” 

The rise in what Chief Insp Forster referred to as theft by “doorstop pirates” was highlighted during a briefing on crime trends to South Gloucestershire’s safer and stronger communities strategic partnership on December 3.

Overall, one per cent less crime was reported in the district over the past year than in the previous 12 months.

Incidents of robbery and burglary were down by 15 per cent, criminal damage by 14 per cent, antisocial behaviour by eight per cent, and assault with injury by six per cent, he told the partnership.

The figures are largely due to lockdowns and other Covid restrictions, and are part of an overall general downward trend in reported crime in the district, Chief Insp Forster said.

The safer and stronger communities strategic partnership is a statutory multi-agency group for South Gloucestershire, tasked with helping to reduce crime and improve safety for communities.

By Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporting Service