Fear of Package Theft: A Survey of Online Retail Consumers

No Thumbnail Available
Hicks, Melody
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Middle Tennessee State University
A rapidly growing crime problem in the United States and abroad, package theft is a phenomenon that is of persistent and significant concern to the public. However, academic study on the subject has been neglected. Because package theft is understudied, the impact it has is difficult to understand, and the crime itself is hard to address. The present study defines package theft, informs readers about package theft, and examines online retail consumers’ fear of the offense. Fear of crime research has typically focused on the fear of violent crime, or it has concentrated on an abstract fear of crime. This study broadens the literature about fear of crime by examining fear of a particular property crime using an index of eleven questions measuring affective, cognitive, and behavioral impacts. Survey data of 562 participants from 49 states reveal that nearly one quarter (23.8%) have experienced package theft. The variables gender (women more so than men), residential location (urban and suburban more so than rural), and previous victimization significantly influenced the fear of package theft. Additionally, the fear of package theft directly or vicariously harmed consumers and resulted in risk avoidance behaviors and risk mitigation behaviors. The present study demonstrates the usefulness of measuring fear of a specific property crime through an index of multiple variables within an environmental context.
Criminology, Packaging, Public policy