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Prestons ranked Australia’s worst suburb for parcel theft

  • Written by The Times

Shocking new data reveals that parcel theft claims have more than doubled this year, with Prestons in New South Wales named the worst suburb.

This year there’s been a 59% increase in claims for parcel loss with a wider range of people lodging claims across the country. However, the average claim value dropped in 2024 by 18.4% to $104.30 from $127.79 in 2023. 

The analysis is provided by courier service comparison platform Fast Courier, in partnership with FreightSafe, and shows that porch piracy has consistently been on the rise since records began.

On average, in 2016, parcel theft was at a ratio of 0.06% of total deliveries, meaning 6 in every 10,000 parcels were lost. This figure increased slowly, to 0.08% in 2018 and a sudden spike in 2021 to 0.105%. It’s risen consistently to 0.125% by 2023 and 0.154% by 2024, which is 154 in every 10,000 parcels.

Vincent Manero, Fast Courier Co-Founder says, “Demand for online shopping spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the lockdown ending, demand for eCommerce remained strong with the market expected to reach an estimated $51.6 billion in Australia this year.

(Vincent Manero, Fast Courier Co-Founder)

While this is great for convenience, it also provides greater opportunity for thieves looking for an opportunistic crime. People are becoming increasingly brazen snatching deliveries from porches in broad daylight, especially during peak sale periods such as EOFY and Black Friday.

Interestingly, it’s not the CBD areas where we see the highest number of thefts. Our data shows that these parcel poaches are most active in inner-city and suburban areas, with Padstow ranking as the second worst suburb this year and the worst in 2023.”

Suburbs With the Highest Parcel Theft in 2024
Suburbs With the Highest Parcel Theft in 2023

1) Prestons, New South Wales
Located 37 kilometres south-west of Sydney’s CBD area is Prestons, the town with the worst rate of parcel theft in 2024. Rates of parcel theft in this area have jumped by 39.5% in the past 12 months (0.59% vs 0.88%). This is an average of 23 claims per month in 2024 for Prestons alone. 

Coincidently, Prestons was named after a local Irish family who ran a small post office. The Preston family was well-known for their generosity and the name became synonymous with the post office and officially the town's name in 1972.

Unfortunately, the community spirit has since diminished with Prestons ranking among the worst three areas for parcel theft over two consecutive years. 

2) Padstow, New South Wales
Residents living in Padstow, also southwest of Sydney CBD, should take extra precautions with online orders as it’s the second worst area for parcel theft in Australia. However, there is some good news for residents with the rate of parcel theft decreasing by 63% over the past year (1.32% vs 0.69%). This is an average of 18 claims per month for Padstow in 2024. 

In 2023, Padstow ranked as the worst suburb for parcel theft, with almost double the number of claims made than Glebe, the second worst spot. It seems residents in Padstow have implemented measures to help curb parcel theft but there is still more that can be done.

3) Wandana Heights, Victoria
The third worst suburb for parcel theft in Australia and the worst in Victoria is the up-market residential suburb of Wandana Heights. With impressive views of Geelong, this area is known for its wide streets, parks, gardens and impressive local amenities. 

However, rates of parcel theft have jumped significantly over the past 12 months with Wandana Heights not even ranking in the top 10 suburbs in 2023. In 2024, it’s the third-highest hotspot with 0.57% of all parcel theft claims in the country. This is an average of 15 claims per month in 2024 for Wandana Heights. 
The Top 10 Categories of Parcel Loss

1) Alcohol
The top category of goods claimed for parcel loss in 2023 and 2024 is alcohol, often left on doorsteps in clearly marked packaging which is a large theft attractor.
In 2023, alcohol accounted for 7.7% of all parcel theft claims while in 2024, it accounted for 6.6%.

2) Toys & Retail Goods
Up from the fourth position in 2023 are toys and retail goods, accounting for 5.6% of all parcel theft claims in Australia this year. 

3) Apparel & Clothing
Down from the second position in 2023 is apparel and clothing which accounted for 5.5% of all parcel theft claims in 2024. This is slightly down from 5.7% in 2023. 

5 Smart Packaging Theft Deterrents

Ship goods in plain, non-discrete packaging: A plain box is less likely to be stolen than one bearing high-end labelling. Ask the sender to opt for discreet packaging.

ivert parcels if you’re not home: Technology allows us to easily track, trace and divert parcels. Consider updating your home address to your place of employment as courier services typically operate during work hours. Alternatively, have the parcel diverted and held at your local Post Office.

Install outdoor security cameras: Outdoor security cameras are not only a great deterrent but can help identify theft in the instance something goes wrong.

Invest in a lockbox or parcel container: These can be positioned somewhere safe around the home and used as the safe and secure delivery drop-off at your home. Alternatively, there are secure 24/7 parcel lockers located throughout Australia.

Lean on your neighbours: Being part of a community means looking after one another. If you see a neighbour's parcel lying out, let them know you’ve got it for safekeeping and ask them to do the same with your deliveries.

About Fast Courier
Founded in 2020 in Sydney, Fast Courier is on a mission to increase accessibility, transparency and democratisation within the logistics industry. By investing in technology that takes the friction out of finding and booking a preferred logistics provider, Fast Courier seamlessly connects all Australians to a wide variety of carriers to match every budget, plan and logistic preference.

About FreightSafe
FreightSafe is a Third Party Claims Manager to the transport industry, managing claims for goods lost or damaged in transit. It’s the largest claims manager in the transport industry creating digital claims experiences that overturn freight dramas. FreightInsure, as part of the FreightSafe Group, enables Fast Courier to ensure its exposure under its warranty program, creating better customer outcomes where freight is fraught.

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Prestons ranked Australia’s worst suburb for parcel theft

Shocking new data reveals that parcel theft claims have more than doubled this year, with Prestons in New South Wales named the worst suburb. This year there’s been a 59% increase in claims for parcel loss with a wider range of people lodging ...

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