In 2022 alone, porch pirates made off with 19.5 billion dollars worth of goods. As package thieves adopt new tactics, it’s up to merchants, carriers, and consumers to stay one step ahead of them. Jessica Lowrance, vice president of federal affairs at UPS, shares some of the most effective ways to fight back against porch piracy.
For Jessica, it’s clear that porch piracy will never go away entirely. She says, “I think it's part of the customer buying experience now. And it's not the fault of the carrier or even the company you're buying from; it's just the reality of the world we live in today.”
While some porch pirates snag a package or two on a whim, others get organized. They’re known to follow delivery trucks, stealing an entire neighborhood’s packages in one fell swoop.
Unfortunately, many of these criminals don’t face severe consequences for their actions. Jessica explains that “under current federal law, only [packages delivered by] the Postal Service are treated as a felony for porch pirates. [Packages delivered by other carriers] are up to local jurisdiction.” Nine times out of 10, [porch piracy] would be considered a misdemeanor.”
She recommends getting involved at a state and even federal level to support new legislation that would make porch piracy a felony regardless of carrier.
Jessica offers practical tips to help merchants fight back against porch piracy:
Lori Boyer 00:00
Welcome to Unboxing Logistics, the hot new podcast from EasyPost where we dive into all of the latest challenges and trends going on in the logistics industry. I'm Lori Boyer and I am your host. And today we are going to be talking all about one of the most challenging aspects. I shouldn't even say most challenging.
There's so many challenging aspects of this industry, but we are going to be diving into porch piracy. And I have brought on a really exciting guest today who is in the know on this topic and especially around a lot of the legal issues. So I have with us today Jessica Lowrance from UPS. Jessica, welcome. Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background?
Jessica Lowrance 00:48
Yes, thank you. Thank you for having me today. I'm excited to talk about this. This this issue that kind of plagues everybody, right? Nobody's immune to porch piracy. I'm Jessica Lowrance and I am vice president of federal affairs at UPS, where obviously we are a shipper of choice for many of your listeners. And porch piracy is an issue.
And, you know, it seems to creep up this time of year with it being the holidays and people seem to experience it even more than other months of the year.
Lori Boyer 01:17
Yeah, for sure. Jessica, so you work with Congress to help work with legislative issues helping really on a legal basis. Can you tell me a little bit about maybe how you got into that?
That's just really cool.
Jessica Lowrance 01:32
Yeah. So believe it or not, I'm 20 years in the postal industry. I started at the United States Postal Service as an economist, regulatory economist for them pricing economist, and then moved over to the Association for Postal Commerce, where I was lucky enough to work with one of the infamous Jean Del Pulido, who led the organization for many years.
And it was just you know a solid voice in the industry. So I got to learn a lot of the ropes from him testified before Congress representing the industry and, and different aspects of meeting with members of Congress and their staffers. And then as ecommerce took off in 2012 I was lucky enough to get to know the UPS folks who joined our board, and they eventually extended an invitation to join them in 2017, where I have grown my portfolio.
First, it was just postal and I've grown it to include regulated goods, hazmat. Beer, wine, firearms and then the UPS store as well, which is a great addition to a UPS offering.
Lori Boyer 02:37
I love it. It is really cool. So everybody, Jessica's out there kind of on the front lines trying to represent us.
Trying to make sure that we get legislation passed that's going to protect our interests, protect the industry, and that's really, really cool. So I want to hear about it. I want to hear more about kind of how the challenges of it. It's an interesting role in the logistics industry, but first I want to get to know you a little bit more.
So one question this season that I have been asking all of our guests is tell me what you were like as a teenager. Tell me what you were like in high school. You know, were you the perfect cheer captain? Were you a dropout at 14? We seem to run the gamut.
Jessica Lowrance 03:20
So I would say, and it's funny that you ask, because my oldest is 15 turning 16.
So high school is constantly a topic in our household. I would say I was an overachiever. I joined every club. I was part of, you know, sports teams. I worked. I volunteered. And I would say that you could probably characterize me as one of those busy bees. I never sat still learned it from my parents who were huge folks in the church, but also volunteered in our community. They helped run like a three week carnival when I was growing up. So like we, just to raise money for the community and for, you know, centers and stuff. And so it was one of those where I think I learned a lot from them about just constantly having, you know, a finger in every pie or, you know, however the saying goes to constantly just be a part of it.
And I love trying new things and doing new things. And, you know, I'm one of those I'll stick to it till the time's over. And then, you know, if I didn't want to do it again, I just, you know, kind of step away. But I always like trying new things. Even now as an adult, I I'm always doing, trying something new.
Lori Boyer 04:26
Okay. I wish we lived closer together. Cause I think we could totally be friends. I was very similar, in sports and in choir and in AP classes and in the clubs and in the, yeah. So I love that. That's very, very fun. It's been really interesting talking to people in the industry because it really does run like we literally have people who dropped out and started working on their own when they were young and people who were super overachievers.
And I think as a parent, it helps me know, like, okay, you can still be super successful. There's a lot of different paths. Okay, my second question is, if you were to win the lottery today, how would your life look different?
Jessica Lowrance 05:10
Yeah, no, that's a good question. Well, we're in the market to buy a car, so we'd be a three car household very easily instead of, you know, looking for the best deal sort of thing.
I would say probably more focused on volunteering or, you know, giving back. You know, I, I'm lucky enough to, UPS has a fantastic foundation that we give to the, that the, that the company provides. And watching them through disaster relief and, and, and getting things, whether, you know, it was in Puerto Rico or Hawaii, or, you know, things overseas very much would, you know, would want to support efforts like that.
Another really big one that they do that, that I find fascinating is truckers against trafficking. So it's a huge issue in the United States and UPS started a foundation or association around that and handed it off. And now, you know, it's run and, and truckers from all over the country are a part of it. And like causes like that, that are impactful and, and have immediate you know, again, impact to the communities around them or the nation as a whole, I would definitely like to be involved more. Like, you know, giving money is one thing, but like being boots on the ground, I very much could see myself participating in things like that.
Lori Boyer 06:24
I love that. That is very similar to how I would have answered as well. And honestly, I get quite a few people. It's, everybody should be winning the lottery because I think a lot of good things would happen in the world if we all had more money. So awesome. Okay. So I want to hear, we're going to dive into the topic of porch piracy.
We're going to talk about, you know, kind of its background, the trends with it, everything that our audience is curious about. But I want to know from you before we even get started, what are a couple of things that you would like our community to come away with today that if they only remember one or two or three things, what are those things that you would, what are the hot takes that you've got that you think are most important for people to remember around this topic?
Jessica Lowrance 07:07
Yeah, so I would say you know, both from a, first I'll take it from a kind of a UPS store perspective, or a UPS perspective. There's definitely, when we have to come back two and three times, there's always a cost associated with that, right? When, when, when we're unable to leave a package by the door, but we don't want to leave it by the door and have it stolen, right?
So it's a catch 22. So I would say, you know knowing when, you know, when you, if you can do your Prime Day, you know, on Thursday, cause you know, you work from home on Thursdays or you have, you know, the ability to have it when you're going to be home is always beneficial. Because, you know, we knock. We don't stick around and chat, but we do not so that you know that there's a package there. Especially if you're in an area where, you know, porch piracy is pretty prevalent.
I would say is a good idea. There's also, a lot of stores are becoming access points. So, you know, you know, you know, you're going to go be driving by Staples on the way home or Office Depot or, you know, the lock boxes that are known. You know, those things are always good secondary choices. If it's not inconvenient, you know, there's nothing in it.
We don't want to inconvenience but having a package stolen is inconvenient, right? So it's like, sometimes you have to pick your inconvenient. And and obviously if you live in an apartment building and you have a doorman or you have things like that, that makes it, you know, like so much easier. But you know, not everyone has access to those, you know, kind of services. So I would say especially if you're on a busy street be thoughtful about it. Leaving instructions for a carrier you could very say drive around the back of my townhouse building and put it by my by my garage instead of my front door, right?
Like, think about things. We bought my, we didn't buy it. My husband built like a crate because we had dogs and the dogs kept, when they were puppies, would like rip open the packages and we would walk home and, you know, something Santa Claus was supposed to be getting the kids is now all across the lawn and the kids are like, I thought Santa was getting me that.
I'm like, Oh, I talked to him. You're not, I mean, I'm getting it for you, right?
Lori Boyer 09:03
We collaborated here.
Jessica Lowrance 09:04
We're, we're, we're figuring it out, right? And so but like we, we built a bin that it goes in. Now that may be a, you know, big alarm. Like, oh, look, there's packages here. But it is, it was always in one place.
And so, whether it was, you know, Amazon or FedEx or Postal or UPS, they it all dropped in there. So like it was one location instead of trying to like hunt around for packages in our, you know, front porch, back porch, you know, garage, this, that and the other. So I would say, you know, planning deliveries at this time of year when it's, you know, we do see a spike in porch piracy.
Is good and I would say if, you know, pick your inconvenience. If you do have to pick a secondary location, because maybe you're traveling for the weekend and you're not going to be there and you don't want your package sitting out. Doing a lock box or a Staples or, you know, many of the very, you know, different partners we have.
And not just us, all the companies are doing it makes it very convenient. Set that way there. Because if you think about it, if you're going to New York City for the holiday season, and you're gonna be gone Friday, Saturday and come back Sunday, and, you know, you're expecting a package Friday, they're going to come back Saturday.
They'll probably come back Sunday. And at some point, they, you know, they returned to sender or they keep it at their customer service centers. Forcing you to, you know, drive to them, which in some cases could be 45 minutes, an hour away, right? I mean, it's not everyone lives urban where it's right down the road.
So I would say just being a little more thoughtful will probably. It's inconvenient to think that far ahead. But at the same time, it ends up saving you a lot of time not to have to deal with it.
Lori Boyer 10:38
Yeah, I love that. So, let's talk about porch piracy in general. So, when did you start seeing kind of this becoming a big issue?
I don't remember as a kid, for instance, having issues with people stealing packages if they came. It seems to have ramped up. I guess let's, let's kind of cover the history of how did porch piracy, when did it sort of start to take off? What is the difference now, maybe between porch piracy, even five or 10 years ago?
Jessica Lowrance 11:08
Yeah, so I would say that obviously ecommerce in 2012 when that kind of started spiking the real introduction of, of, of direct to consumer. Right. So for so many years, you had business to business deliveries, right? We would deliver goods to Toys R Us. We would deliver goods to Kohl's. And people would get in their cars and they would drive right.
And then kind of ecommerce in 2012 took off and then the pandemic happened you know, in, in 2020. And you saw, you know, 10 years of growth in three months in, in the pandemic. And so I would say. Around 2018 is when the phrase was coined, where, you know, someone would come in and steal, you know, the package, and, you know, I think as it grew and people started experiencing, I mean, you go into any Hill office and you bring up the word porch piracy.
I've never met a staffer who hasn't had a package stolen, right? I think it's it's part of the customer buying experience now and it's not the fault of the carrier or even the company you're buying from It's just the reality of the world we live in today. And so I think you know, just kind of, you know, level setting it.
It's happening everywhere. Rural, you know, rural communities see less of it just because it's such, you know, there could be very far drives between porches. And you might have to go up a private road. So it, you know, it's not as, oh, I live in a townhouse community and you could follow the brown truck through the whole thing and snap, you know, snap, snap, snap, snap as you go through, right?
So it's, it's a different experience. So, you know, rural communities, maybe not as prevalent. Obviously, urban and suburban areas where you have density. It makes it easier for for it to occur. One of the, you know, and again, looking at, like, the beginning trends of it. I think it was more folks were looking for certain brands.
Right. So I think in the beginning, a lot of folks would make custom boxes. So you knew it was an Apple product or you knew it was like a higher end product because it was part of the opening experience and the buying experience and you were, Oh my goodness, it's here. You know, now everything's in a brown box, right?
Because, you know, maybe the, you know, you can see the red Target guy on there, the bullseye and you know, those kind of like symbols that you're used to the branding of it, but it's not as prevalent to have these showy boxes as it once was because, you know, everything kind of looks the same. I mean, sometimes the only way, you know, it's from Apple is when you look at the, you know, size seven font on the label and it says, you know, Apple.
And sometimes they're even taking that away and just calling it a distribution center or, you know, A distribution center, because they don't even want you to know that it's, that it's certain products. Because of the tendency to look for those and try to steal those. So I definitely think that you've seen, you know, people accept that it's part of the buying experience, both from a consumer and a seller standpoint, but, and then try to change things to make it less of an issue.
I also think another, I hate to say it, but because it's so easy to get refunds or get a new package that it's almost like, and you see it with credit cards too, right? Like, I mean, you see fraudulent activity on your credit card account and it's just magically just goes off into the ether, right?
And kind of the same thing with, with the package, you know, you, Oh, my, my Amazon package didn't get delivered. Okay. Or my Kohl's or, you know, name all the, all the, you know, retail brands. And they're like, okay, well, we'll get you, we're going to send a new one out and do this and this and this and this and this, and then they kind of, you know, credit you or send you a replacement that obviously they do their own internal investigations, just like, you know you know, big Brown would do, but, you know, for the most part, it's, it's not. It's more of just a cost of doing business and part of the consumer experience. It's so ingrained in us now, right?
Lori Boyer 15:10
Yeah, so it brings up some questions for me. So, you know, you reference the fact that we know, of course, it's not the carrier's fault. It's not the business's fault, and yet it still kind of impacts that customer journey, right?
Experience, the customer experience, especially when we talk holidays or something, you're hoping that you're going to get this package at a certain time. It gets stolen and suddenly you don't have something for Christmas or for somebody's birthday or or whatever time sensitive needs you have. So what are some things that you've seen businesses specifically do?
So I loved how you mentioned first of all the packaging has changed, that people are no longer just It's making a really flashy box that is like a target for thieves. But what are some other things businesses can do to kind of help their customers avoid this problem?
Jessica Lowrance 16:04
I would say if it's above a certain dollar threshold, you can, you're starting to see a lot more signature confirmation where the person has to physically receive the package.
I would say they also say they'd started ship to store. Right. So I want to buy it from the warehouse and where I want the online deal, but they're going to ship it right to Target. And then, you know, so that, so I know it's going to be there. And then I get the email that it's there, especially for big and bulky items where it could, you know, there could be a delivery surcharge.
They almost, you know, phrase it as, oh, well, avoid this charge and come pick it up at the store kind of thing. And so you're seeing much much more trying to drive, you know, I mean, they're, they're, you know, their buildings are assets, but also expenses, right? Because they got to keep them open. So driving more foot traffic to it giving rebates, right?
If you come and ship to store 10 percent off. Like you see all different folks trying different ways to to lessen the cost. You also see, and you know, I, you know, Walmart and Target are looking to direct to consumer shipping in their own, you know, hiring Uber drivers or, you know, Uber Delivers and working with them and partnerships and just trying to. You know, there's so many middlemen in the journey sometimes that you see companies trying to take them out and be direct to consumer, but it is.
For being from a shipping company. It is not cheap to ship a product. You know, the miles, the gas, the infrastructure, the person, the taxes, the, the, you know, the labor associated with the sorting to get it into the into the street address. It's not as easy as I thought. I think everyone thought it was going to be and you've seen a lot of people kind of step into the market and step out of the market sort of thing.
So I think they're all trying to control the customer experience and, and, and, you know, having a really good porch pirate, my thing was stolen sort of experience helps make it right. And I think that is, you know, but if they can control the whole journey and not have to hand it off to a carrier, then they feel they own it.
Owning it's not always a good thing. Sometimes you can blame the carrier, right? But you know, so you see these larger companies trying to own it. The smaller guys, you know, the mom and pops on top of, you know, not the national retail chains that they do rely on the carrier. And part of the customer experience is dealing with the carrier too, right?
So that's why, you know, you see a lot of folks even in the, in the, in the stolen package business, because sometimes it's not stolen. Maybe it got held up at a facility, or maybe it's in that endless loop because the zip code was transposed or something. Like there's so many parts of the journey. And I know we're focusing on porch pirate, but I think, you know, the carriers, even though it's not their fault, and I'm not gonna say all the time, but it's not their fault that, you know, but we are part of the customer journey as well and interacting with, with their customers, right? And so you see a lot of that in both because sometimes we get the call, you know, Oh, my, my package was stolen. And we're like, well, you have to call the retailer, right? Because our, our transaction has ceased. It was delivered and we have proven delivery through whatever method we prove delivery.
And so kind of our interaction has ended. Well, then you should probably call so and so and let them know where you need to report it. Right? And yeah. There's always 911 that is one way of reporting it, and that is, you know, and I have some statistics on that too, but it's definitely something that dictates the customer journey, right?
Lori Boyer 19:50
I have to say, I just recently moved, relocated states. And one of the things, you know, in the process of anytime you're getting a new house or whatnot, there ended up being a bunch of things that I'd purchased and were being shipped to the new house, but I wasn't going to be there yet. And I timed the delivery so that it would be around the time we arrived because I didn't want everything sitting on the porch. And then they ended up arriving several days early and I was there panicking thinking, this is an expensive item sitting on my porch. And I was blaming the carrier I have to say. And it ended up not getting stolen it was fine but if it had been stolen you know I guess I it that importance of the accuracy of the delivery time.
Sometimes we think, Oh, if it's early, it's just a happy surprise. But, you know, having accurate delivery times in terms of you want it in the window. Being early is not always good. I, that was just sort of an eye opener for me. So how have you seen that in terms of like accuracy, I guess, of delivery times?
Jessica Lowrance 20:50
So I would say customers, you know, outside of price being a major driver, right? Predictability, I would say is as up there as anything. That's why, like, I think folks being able to have day specific delivery like listen, I am traveling and I want you to deliver it Monday, right? But a lot of the times that has to happen with the retailer because of when they put things into the system. And other times it's on the carrier because you know, it's normally, you know predictably we would say it takes us five days to get there and today it took us three, right?
You know like and so so like I we understand it, but we also can't hold. You know, we're not a warehouse, so we can't hold it. So, you know, there's sometimes where it's like, Oh, it's going from St. Louis to Kentucky. And that's a five day window. And you wanted it on Monday. So you did it. And the next thing you know, it's their Friday.
Lori Boyer 21:42
Yep. Right. So as a retailer, I think it's really interesting. There were a few things you mentioned that they can do. So getting the signature. So I had a few larger items were actually they did require that there was a signature. They tried to come early. I wasn't there and they came back when we were there. And then also, you know as a retailer then it sounds like there's a lot of expectation on you to make sure that you're getting those accurate times and dates in and that you're putting it into the system in the right time. As a retailer as well there's a lot of things you can do in terms of offering, you know, potential insurance. You don't even usually have to pay for it. You can offer that as an option for your customers that they can purchase insurance. A lot of times that's not even an option on websites. And so I think that's another great way that people can feel a little bit more secure.
But as you said, a lot of times it ends up getting eaten as a cost for retailers anyway. So that's, I think those are all great tips. So I want to talk a little bit about legislation around this issue as well. So I know that there are a variety of challenges we've had in the industry with this being able to be taken, you know, you mentioned 911 and and reporting things to the police.
What are the challenges that we're seeing with laws and legislation around porch piracy? What are what are some of the issues that we're we have, you know, nationwide in the United States?
Jessica Lowrance 23:08
So under current law, federal law, it only the Postal Service is treated as a felony for porch piracy, right? And so carriers any of them that, that doesn't have, you know, the little eagle for Postal on it, do not, you know, it is up to local jurisdiction on how it is handled. Nine times out of 10 if they even come it would be considered a misdemeanor. And I, I imagine larger ticket items probably hold more weight. But then you, you gotta be able, even everyone's getting Ring, Ring cameras, and even then you can barely make out with enough clarity on who is the person that's actually doing it. So the charges in these cases are very small.
What we have seen and what we have heard is that it's the, the ones that folks really want to be prosecuted are the groups that, where it's organized. Where they go in and they hit an entire townhouse you know, and take every package in the townhouse community.
Lori Boyer 24:18
So wait, let me back up just a minute. So this is an organized crime type activity that's taking place here.
Jessica Lowrance 24:23
Yeah. So we, we have seen, you know, outside of the smash and grab, you know, organized retail crime. We're also starting to see it from a porch piracy perspective where it's, you know, it's not aimed at the kid who steals the Apple headphones.
It's the person who goes and follows the truck and steals all the pack, all 200 packages out of. Or you're even seeing them like get into delivery vans. And, and, and taking it, right, and stealing the delivery vans. Right. And, and two miles down the road, it's sitting, they don't want the vehicle. It's sitting there with the keys in it, but it's completely cleaned out.
Right. So you're seeing a lot more of where it's, it's purposeful in in their activity. And so that has led a lot of conversation about making porch piracy a felony at certain levels in order to hold folks accountable for when it is an organized kind of retail crime or it's large dollar amounts, right?
So I don't know, you have your diamond ring, you know, serviced and they shipped it back. I don't think you would, but in case you did, you know, those kinds of things, or, you know, maybe you bought a new mattress or, and it's sitting outside or, you know, any of the million things in which you could get delivered.
It's not the dog food or, you know, the, the, the pack of pens you bought off Amazon. It's more focused at the organized retail level of it and having it. So currently, like I said, there's no federal legislation. There are eight states that have actually made it a felony for porch pirate to be, you know, caught being porch pirate.
It's Kentucky. Oh, I'm sorry. Yeah. It's Kentucky, New Jersey, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Texas. So you can kind of just see from the list that, you know, it's, it's, it's affecting large parts of the country. You know, it's you can't say it's all Southern states or all Northern states. There's some Midwest states in there.
So it's definitely where constituents are seeing it. They're complaining to their local folks. And I'm sure they're complaining to federal officials to but kind of more of a local because it's, you know, when you call 911, it's your local person, right? So it's a local jurisdiction. So states have started to take it very seriously.
So a lot of times when they, when you can get a federal law in place, a lot of the states adopt the federal law. So that's why it would be helpful to have it as a umbrella across state. Plus a lot of these things can happen over state lines. And so states get really kind of fishy about overstate line stuff.
So having a federal umbrella acknowledging it. There are some efforts. There's a couple of members of Congress who are very interested. The prop and it's not a problem that there's already so much already in law around stealing a UPS truck or a trailer or all those things. You know, breaking into a rail car that it really would only take a sentence.
The bill would literally be one sentence long to add to already existing provisions, right? To just say, oh, and the front porch. So we are working to maybe use it as an amendment to an existing bill where you would just add you know, we want to add this 1 sentence to title 18 section 657, which is the actual provision we want to add into that deals with carriers and rails and that sort of thing in order to then add a package left for, for the household or for the recipient or is taken prior to acceptance from the recipient. You know, one of those sort of carefully worded. So, a directional porch prior, but we can't write porch piracy into law. Right? Because those that that's just a, a term that's being used, but it could always change.
Right? So. Plus, again, we don't want the one off kid that stole something, we want the more organized, where it's, you know, cleaning out an entire, an entire community, or, you know, they're, they constantly do it, or follow certain trucks around. And and it, yeah, it's it's a problem. There's Forbes has a great article out on this.
Cap One Research has a great art article out on this, and Chamber of Commerce just released a new report looking at, you know, porch piracy. Cause it's so impactful. In 2022 alone. It was 19. 5 billion worth of goods. Right. And so. And so people are taking it and then they create an online account and then just cause it's thing that it's still in the box, it's packaging.
They could just say it's new and then they're selling it for at price. Right. And so that's why, you know, the organized side of it. I mean, you can't stop the one offs and, and there's not really enough resources in the world to stop the one offs, but it's when they're purposefully doing things or then reselling it at high dollar values, some of these goods.
Yeah. And Forbes said eight in 10 Americans, they have experienced porch piracy. That it has, it's 40 percent urban, 40 percent suburban and only 14 percent rural communities are affected. So I think, you know, some of these larger cities are, you know, seeing it and having to deal with it.
Forbes even said the worst, worst ranked states, which I was surprised at the worst ranked states, but it also kind of lines up with who has done legislation. But New Hampshire is number one.
Lori Boyer 29:46
Jessica Lowrance 29:48
In the country for porch piracy. So if you live in New Hampshire, I'm sure you've experienced it. Oklahoma, which matches up with legislation, right?
Delaware which I, I could totally see, you know, cause Delaware is largely a beach, you know, not largely, but has a lot of beach where folks probably have shipped delivered. They're not always at their homes. You know, it's a secondary property, maybe or they're, you know, send it prior to going on vacation and it sits there.
So I could see that. And then Iowa. I don't know. I don't know what they're doing out there in Iowa, but, and then Colorado was the, was the top five. So yeah, it's, it's interesting. Again, not a lot of 911 calls I think are going to get a big response from folks. So it does kind of come from a corporate responsibility.
They're probably, and I'm sure that you know, before long, there might be S. E. C. required reporting on, you know, good stolen and think about it. You know, you know, there's a retail aspect of some of these stores on top of the porch piracy. It could be greatly affected from theft in general. So I think, you know, you saw a lot of states moving away from making these heavy crimes, but then the theft has gotten so prevalent that it's almost like you see them starting to come back in that pendulum swing the other way to kind of at least hold folks accountable, especially minors. Unfortunately it, it's largely, outside of, even the organized crime is largely minors.
And many, many states with the minors with for misdemeanors, they're out within an hour. Some aren't even brought, brought forth, like they can find the guilty party and they're not, they're not even charged.
Lori Boyer 31:32
So one of the big challenges, it seems like in this, you know, area of topic is the fact that there are not very harsh consequences right now.
Jessica Lowrance 31:42
Lori Boyer 31:42
Not very good safeguards in place to protect businesses and consumers.
Jessica Lowrance 31:48
And so, so it's so, you know, I think it's, it's twofold. It's not only is it that there's really nothing there that as a stick right. To say, don't do this. The, the retailers have made it so easy just to report the loss and get a new one.
That you're not, no one's worse off. The people who are worse off in the, well, everyone's worse off when 19 billion dollars of goods go missing. Right. But you know, the company's worse off, but then in the end they need to charge more to make up for the loss that they're suffering because they can't have bad stock results or bad stock price and they can't do this and they can't do that.
So in the end, the consumer, even though we can't see it on a piece of paper, you know, is experiencing increased prices because of 19 billion dollars being stolen. And, and they're getting that money, right? No, one's reporting massive losses from porch piracy. So they're getting the money back. Right. So they're just fine finding different and creative ways to do it.
And yeah, I, I think there's starting to be at least from a retailer perspective and from a carrier perspective, a pushback on no consequences. Because there are consequences. Just the average person can't see them. They're just paying for them. Right? And so I think there, you know, federal legislation would help continuing to then push the other, you know, 42 states to at least consider making harsher consequences. You know, I don't want to send any way, anyone away, you know, to prison for life for stealing, you know, my packet of pens, but, you know, if they're if they stole everybody's packets of pens, it's a different conversation, right?
Lori Boyer 33:34
That's right. So, okay. What do you recommend then? Let's say that you're mid sized retail business. You know what? What should you be doing? What can you do to A minimize your own losses B help hold people accountable? Should people be reaching out to their congressman? Should they be, you know, setting up more safeguards? Just where do they start?
Jessica Lowrance 33:59
Yeah, I think it would start with providing their, you know, a lot of different options for people getting the product to the consumer, right? Yeah. So I would say small businesses should have multiple options for delivery, right? So not just on the home. Can they do day specific? So someone could pick when they're home.
I would even say looking at you know, store to pick up or ship to store. If that's not an option, because, you know, and I do love the internet because you could buy from a consignment shop in Minnesota, right? And have it shipped to you you know, looking at access points, working with the carrier to make sure that they are providing all of those things.
And they could be different price points, right? I mean, But let the consumer make the decision, right? Let them pick their inconvenience, right? And so, and you don't want to say it in a negative way, but that's the reality. Would they rather get this one kind of item, you know, shipped to a box or shipped to Staples and pick it up because they know it's going to sit there safely?
Or sit on their front porch, right? So I would say multiple delivery options. And even if, and let's all let's just be clear, nothing is free. So free shipping doesn't really exist. So I think the faster consumers realize that nothing's free and that there is a cost to it. And then, again, making their own choices.
So okay, maybe this kind of delivery is included because that's that's easy for you. But then if they want an access point or they wanted a day specific or they want something in addition to delivery. Use it as a profit center. All right. Well, it only really cost me 2, but I'm going to charge him 3, right?
Like, I mean, there's, I think there's ways that to be creative, that's beneficial to everyone. And then I think letting the consumers make the decision, I think that driving that I think is important.
Lori Boyer 35:56
I absolutely love that. I love the idea of choices and leaving it. As I talk about, you know, the experience I had where I was all panicked because something came early, you know, I, if I'd been given the option of, okay, somebody has to sign for this.
I wasn't given that option during checkout on this particular business that I went to. If I had chosen not to do that, then I would have been like, okay, well I chose to play with fire. So now, you know, that was up to me and I didn't want to do it. But, or if, you know, like I mentioned earlier, you can get insurance or package protection options out there. Where if i'm like, I don't want to pay for that, well, then I feel a little bit of responsibility because I had a choice and I chose to risk it. And so I love love love your viewpoint of let the consumer kind of have some skin in the game, kind of have some, be part of that decision making process and know that you're all working together to try to figure out how to avoid this piracy issue.
So, I love that point, number one. So, number two, let's talk about legislation. What, what can businesses do to help, you know, move things forward? So, if they are in a state, if they're in Idaho where my parents are, or if, they're my brothers in Colorado where they already are a felony. But, you know, if you're somewhere where it's not a felony, what can they do as a business to try to encourage that there are more consequences, especially for these organized crimes?
Jessica Lowrance 37:18
I would say if they're experiencing high volume of their products being stolen that communicating that to both local and federal officials, right? So I can very much, you know, you can very much, you know, go on to Google and say, who's the congressman in, you know, Colorado 1234, right? Who's my congressman, right?
And you can find out who's your local congressman. Obviously, senators are a lot easier. There's only two per state, right? But, you know, find finding out sending them sending their local office. Right, so many members of Congress have local offices in their district that you could stop by, you could easily, and it'll tell you, it'll tell you their address on their website, it'll also, so you can send a letter, you can, there's email addresses where you can send and saying, listen, I'm a constituent, I own a small business, and I'm experiencing large volume of, you know, package theft through porch privacy, and I would like the state, not only the state of, You know, Kansas, Maryland, Virginia to do something about it.
I would like to see something federally happen. And I think the more people talk about the issue instead of acting like it doesn't happen. I feel like so many folks act like it doesn't happen. The consumers are knowing it's happening because they're getting the refund or they're getting the product, another product, but at a business level, it's kind of very, very hush hush.
Right? And so I think talking about it, talking with, especially as a small business owner, or, you know, you only have two locations within a state or something like that. Doing outreach like that is, is more beneficial than UPS walking in and saying, 0. 125 percent of our packages are sold on every day.
Or whatever the number is and they're like, well, how many is that? Well, we deliver on average 20 million pieces a day. So that's not a number, right? I mean, it's not as impactful as hearing from the small business from it's being stolen or hearing from the mom and pop shop or, or. The, the consolidator who works with eight small businesses or the platform companies that, you know, that track it and know that they're stolen or, you know, like all the, everyone has a story to tell.
And just having it out there is so much more beneficial than just grumbling and thinking that it's a part of the business.
Lori Boyer 39:34
So I have to admit, yeah, to being a little bit of a cynic, I always think, Oh, I'm just one business owner. I'm just one person. Does it even really make a difference?
Jessica Lowrance 39:46
I feel like locally bringing it up at a chamber of commerce meeting, right? I mean, that's what they're there for is to represent. And so that the more the story is sort of, Oh my goodness, this year we've had blah, blah, blah, stolen or, Oh, we, you know, everyone loves our new widget and it is. We, you know, we can't keep it on the shelf, but we're finding that, you know, 25 percent of them are stolen on the porch or whatever it is talking about it at a chamber of commerce meeting because they have direct exposure to local officials.
Right? And so I think if it starts locally, you can see impacts in your state immediately. And then from there, anytime you reach out to a member of Congress to their district office, or even their DC office, you will get a response back. And if you have specific numbers, like I'm a small business, I make this much, you know, be factual, I'm a 2 million small business, a hundred thousand dollars, small business, and you know, in 2023, I had to replace 200 goods to consumers because of this. This was the impact it had to my business. So instead of reporting blank profit, I now reported zero profit or, you know, whatever, whatever the impact is, because those add up and if everyone who experienced it had that story to tell, that 19 billion could be accounted for like that. If every member of Congress knew that a portion of that was in their state.
Lori Boyer 41:10
I love that and I, as I was saying, you know, I sometimes we get caught up in that idea of, oh, it doesn't really make a difference. I'm just one business. Nobody cares. But I love the idea that they do. So go in with numbers. Go in with just sharing your experience, start local, you can go to state, you can go fed. But those are all great initiatives that we can take and don't take that much time to try to make a difference. So, I love that.
Jessica Lowrance 41:39
You'd be surprised, especially small businesses. You reach out to the district office and for your congressman, they're going to be like, they're going to follow up and they're going to ask you questions.
And then they might even be like, well, can the congressman stop in and see your operations. Can they meet your employees? Like so then all of a sudden it goes from you were you were reaching out because you experienced an issue in their district, their local district, federal district, and the next thing you know, they're walking in your front door because they want to hear from you, or they want to see what you do to understand.
And next thing. Now you have a relationship and that relationship, you know. You know, you and I were, before we even got started, you were asking some of the things we were looking at from a perspective in Texas. Right. 2025 is going to be a huge tax year, right? So even if porch piracy is a small issue, taxes and taxes, you pay both as an individual and as your company is going to be a huge year.
So going in and starting establishing relationships locally and federally is one of the best things you can do from both a chamber of commerce perspective, you sit on your local chamber of commerce, or even as a business owner, yourself.
Lori Boyer 42:45
That's so cool. That was like a total aha moment for me, because this is a super relationship heavy industry. I've talked about that with multiple experts in the industry, how important it is to get a relationship with your carrier, with your suppliers, with, you know, just all those relationships are really critical. And I never had that idea of it being also a relationship with our legislature, with, you know, those who are out there doing those lawmaking.
What a great opportunity to create relationships. Really brilliant there, Jessica. I love that. Okay. Well, I think we're about out of time. But do you have any other tips or thoughts that you want to end with today?
Jessica Lowrance 43:25
Yeah, I would say, you know, no one knows there's a problem until you you let everyone know there's a problem, right?
So the more, and I'm not saying, you know, exaggerate or make it a bigger deal than it is, but just being factual and, and starting the relationships, right? I mean, imagine a year from now we're, we're doing this because we were able to get something into legislation, whether at your state or at the federal level, because folks stood up and said, Hey, this is an issue for me and it's impacting me and my business.
It's impacting my community. That is that those are the easy wins for Congress, right? Some of this other stuff's really hard. This stuff is really easy when people stand up and tell their story.
Lori Boyer 44:05
Oh, I love it. Awesome Okay, Jessica, are you on LinkedIn or something if people want to follow you and keep up to date maybe with the latest bills that are in Congress?
Jessica Lowrance 44:14
Yes, I'm in LinkedIn. And, you know, at any time, you know, if they reach out to you and needing additional follow up or help with anything, feel free to share my contact information. Yeah, no, it's the Hill can seem daunting, but I would say that once you do your first interaction, email, letter, all that's become easy because you, you set yourself into a process and you can very easily mimic that process anytime you need to.
Lori Boyer 44:39
I love it. You know, it's the Hill and it seems like you said intimidating, but it's still just people. So I love the idea. Thank you so much for being here. We've learned so much. I think that this is a really complex topic, but there are a lot of things we can be out there doing. So again, thank you for being here, everybody. Have a great week and we will talk to you next time.