62% Confirm Porch Pirate Plague in New Survey

by | Jul 2, 2018

delivery at front door

Porch Pirate Theft Presents Nationwide Problem

A whopping 62% of Americans in a new survey confirm being victimized by a porch pirate. The results of the May 30 survey indicate a porch pirate plague taking place across the country as online ordering surges in popularity. What’s more, two-thirds of those surveyed decided against ordering an item online because of concerns that the package could be stolen.

About 2,000 Americans across the U.S. participated in the survey conducted from May 4 to May 22, 2018. Nextdoor, a popular social media platform for residential neighborhoods, conducted the  porch pirate survey and released the results on May 30, according to media reports.

“Porch pirate” is a recently coined term to describe a specific type of robber. “Person or persons who steal packages from unsuspecting customers’ porches or front door areas,” is how Urban Dictionary defines the phenomenon. The term suggests it is primarily a problem plaguing single family homes. But it also affects apartment dwellers when packages get dropped off in unsecured buildings’ entry areas.

Porch Pirate Survey Data

According to results of the survey provided to Deep Sentinel by Nextdoor staff, Nextdoor found that:

62% of respondents have experienced a package theft

50% of respondents say package theft is a serious problem in their neighborhood, while 41% say it’s not serious but is of concern when it happens

66% of respondents have decided against ordering an item because they were concerned it would be stolen

51% of respondents have asked a neighbor for help retrieving a package when they weren’t home

Nextdoor further reports that residents in a neighborhood often use Nextdoor messaging to warn each other about package theft and in some instances, help police catch the thieves by providing photos, video and follow-up location information.

USPS and Amazon Step Up to Combat Porch Pirates

Responding to the growing problem of porch pirates’ theft of delivered packages, both the United States Postal Service (USPS) and Amazon have developed different approaches to prevent these crimes.

The USPS just launched a new program called Informed Delivery. The program offers an upgraded version of their tracking system. Now you can receive text alerts and daily emails with package delivery updates. They will even send you images of arriving packages and letters. No tracking number needed.

Amazon recently debuted their Amazon Locker program. With Amazon Locker, you ship a package to a business that has contracted with Amazon to serve as a package receiving location. You or your package recipient receive a code via text when the package arrives. You input the code into the locker and presto – it pops open. You take your package and leave. The now-empty locker is ready to store someone else’s package and send them a brand-new code. This offers people who are away from home all day or who live in an apartment a way to safely get packages at a place and time convenient for them.

Amazon also offers an in-home delivery option called Amazon Key. It allows an Amazon delivery person to gain temporary access into your home to drop off a package. However, it requires the purchase of a kit that includes a security camera and a coded lock device for your door.

Prevention Techniques Against Porch Pirates

While this spike in porch pirate thefts is scary and unsettling, there are a number of ways that you can protect your packages from porch pirates.

1. Install a Security Camera

One of the best ways to protect your packages and deliveries is to install a security camera at your front door, hallway, or driveway. A visible security camera can help deter criminals from attempting any robbery. 

Additionally, security cameras that come with a mobile app allow you to monitor your home on the days when you are expecting a delivery package. 

2. Use-motion activated lights

Motion-activated lights can prove to be extremely helpful at scaring away the robbers. By installing them at your front door, you can suddenly illuminate anyone who approaches your door, thus discouraging them from stealing your stuff. Combine this with a security camera and you have got yourself a solid set of deterrents. 

3. Specify Instructions for Delivery

Many e-commerce businesses allow you to put specific delivery instructions while placing an order. You could ask the delivery person to ring the bell so that you or someone at your home can bring it inside right away. You can also ask the delivery person to hand-over the package to one of your trusted neighbors in case you and your family are not home at the time of delivery. 

Whether or not you decide to opt for one of these programs, there are additional security measures you can take to thwart porch pirates. Here are some more tips to prevent thefts of delivered packages we at Deep Sentinel find helpful.

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