Protect Your Packages from Porch Pirates

Police departments across the country have reported an increase in packages being stolen from outside people’s homes. With holiday shopping in full swing and many of us ordering items online, our packages can become easy targets for porch pirates.

It’s no surprise that the number of porch pirate incidents grew in 2020. This is partially due to the fact that there was a major increase in online shopping as people avoided going out in public. If you’re expecting deliveries, be prepared to protect your packages from thieves.

Why do they do it? According to ADT, mostly because it’s a simple, easy opportunity to take advantage of. They might steal a package hoping it contains something valuable. Many times, smaller packages contain expensive items that can be resold, such as phones, video game systems or computers. But there are several ways to help reduce the risk of having your packages stolen.

Install security equipment around your front porch area.
Installing security cameras, video doorbells, motion sensor lights, or other security products can deter porch pirates. If they make it onto the porch, a security camera can record a video or snapshot of the person that can be used as evidence if needed. This is especially helpful for security systems that offer an app that gives you a live view of anyone on your front porch or other areas of your home. Motion sensor lights will detect motion and light up your front porch area, hopefully spooking away thieves. Try to set the sensor to capture motion a few feet in front of the entrance so people are detected before they actually step onto the porch.

Get to know your delivery people.
There’s a good chance that the same local carriers will frequently deliver to your home. Let them know where you want them to leave packages so they’re less likely to be seen and stolen. Establish a delivery spot that is visibly protected by other objects or landscaping and ask your delivery driver to place packages in this spot.

Network with neighbors.
If package theft has been an ongoing problem in your neighborhood, consider collaborating with your neighbors to look out for strangers and keep an eye on deliveries at each other’s house. If you aren’t going to be home when a package is delivered, ask a trusted neighbor if you can have it sent to their house instead. You can also ask the neighbor to grab a package that’s already been delivered and keep it at their home until you return.

Find a safer deliver spot.
Some police and fire departments offer delivery locations during the holidays. See if any community organizations, churches or even local businesses would allow you to have packages delivered for safe keeping. Just make sure you collect your items soon after they’re delivered so they don’t pile up.

Have your package delivered to your work.
A porch pirate can’t be tempted by an empty porch. Consider having your packages delivered to you at work. Not all work places are a good choice for this option, especially for large packages, but if they are, it would bring back the convenience of having it delivered to you. Make sure the packages aren’t heavy or awkwardly shaped so you’re struggling to transport it home.

Require a signature.
Along with adding special delivery instructions, you can sometimes mark “signature required.” If you’re home often, this can work well. However, if you’re rarely home, this can cause a goose-chase with your delivery person. Also, courier companies may only offer one or two opportunities for you to sign for a package before they require you to pick it up from their facility, thus eliminating convenient home delivery.

Add special delivery instructions.
As you fill out your shipping information online, look for the option of adding delivery instructions. This allows you to request that the package be left by a side door or in a spot that is not visible from the road.

Take advantage of the “ship to store” option.
Many retailers offer a “ship to store” option that allows you to pick up items at your local store within a reasonable timeframe. While it may not be available for all items or retailers, it provides assurance that your item is safe until it reaches your hands. And although this removes the convenience of direct delivery, If you shop at that particular store fairly often, it may not be much of an inconvenience.

Have your package held for pick up.
This definitely takes away the convenience of online shopping, but for more expensive items, such as a new computer or TV, having it held at a shipping location is worth the inconvenience. Create an account with USPS, UPS or FedEx, use your tracking number and elect to have the package held at the closest location.

Don’t let porch pirates steal your joy, or packages, this holiday season or any time of the year.

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