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Survey finds a ‘surprising’ number of Canadians have been targeted by porch pirates

WATCH: A new survey by FedEx Canada shows a lot of Canadians have had their packages stolen off their porch or step. Global’s Tomasia DaSilva has the exclusive results of the nationwide survey and what’s being done about the problem.

A new survey has found the theft of packages from doorsteps or porches is a bigger problem than many Canadians believe or even know about.

Federal Express Canada Corporation (FedEx) commissioned an independent, online survey of 1,500 Canadians in September of this year and shared some of the results with Global News ahead of the survey’s release.

FedEx Canada’s senior communications specialist James Anderson said they knew there was a problem with porch pirates, but not to this extent.

“It was surprisingly, I have to say, a shocking stat for us,” he said.

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The survey found out of the 1,500 Canadians asked, one in four had had a package stolen.

Calgary family fed up after being hit multiple times by so-called porch pirates
Calgary family fed up after being hit multiple times by so-called porch pirates

In Alberta, that number was even higher at one in three.

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FedEx also found 70 per cent of respondents who shop online worry about package theft. And one in 10 of those surveyed said they don’t shop online for that very reason.

“We were well aware that it does exist but when you see [these numbers], it did take us a bit aback,” Anderson said.

WATCH: Crime of opportunity: Calgary police warn of increase in parcel thefts

Calgarian Tim Huggins recently became one of the statistics.

“I came home to check to see if [the packages] were on the porch and there was only one box there and there was supposed to be three,” Huggins added. “So we checked our cameras and we noticed a guy who came and grabbed the packages off our deck.”

“Horrible. They were our kids’ Christmas presents.”

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While his delivery was not made by FedEx, the largest express delivery company in the world said its drivers are well aware of the problem.

“Our couriers are always keeping a close eye to see if they’re being followed,” Anderson said. “They will report suspicious activity — either if it involves them or if they’re noticing other suspicious activity in the neighbourhood.”

Staff at the Calgary FedEx hub gear up for a busy holiday season
Staff at the Calgary FedEx hub gear up for a busy holiday season Tomasia DaSilva

Anderson said at the end of the day, drivers will follow the customers’ direction on where to leave packages while still being vigilant.

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“If a customer tells us to leave a package on the doorstep, we’re not going to paint a big flag for the porch pirate to say: ‘Come here — take me.'”

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FedEx trucks get ready to hit the road in Calgary
FedEx trucks get ready to hit the road in Calgary Tomasia DaSilva

FedEx pointed to a number of other delivery options, including signing for a package or having it delivered to a workplace or retail location, to prevent it from being taken. FedEx recently partnered with Staples to have packages delivered and picked up at their store locations. That’s a popular option in the survey, with 70 per cent of respondents stating they would want a package directed to a delivery location.

If a package is taken from your front step, FedEx advised you call police right away.

“My advice is immediately call the police and then call your merchant or call FedEx,” Anderson added. “And then we will all work together.”

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READ MORE: Steps to prevent porch pirates from stealing your holiday gifts

Huggins said he called police and the retailer and got a full refund for his stolen items, adding he will not have packages sent to his home in the future.

“I think they almost should all just go to the post office or something and people can pick them up from there,” he said.

The full results of the survey are expected to be released on Nov. 25.