How to Thwart Porch Pirates

by Deep Sentinel | | Home Security

Tips on Preventing Theft of Delivered Packages

Package Thefts Can Cause Emotional Havoc And Financial Loss

Porch pirates, thieves who steal packages from your front porch, cause all kinds of havoc. First, there’s the logistical frustration of trying to track a package that failed to arrive, then re-ordering the item and getting reimbursed from the merchant who then suffers a loss. But there’s potential for emotional fallout too. Especially if the theft involves a gift.

Say you’ve ordered something for the wedding of good friends. You might be miffed if you don’t receive any acknowledgment from the couple.

Or your grandmother might complain to your mother that you never thanked her for the birthday gift she sent you.

In both scenarios, the recipients may never have received the gift because it was stolen. The sender thinks the recipient’s a thankless ingrate. The recipient thinks the sender simply forgot about them or chose not to send them anything. It gets awkward. All because of porch pirates.

Nearly 20% of Americans had a package stolen just within this past year.

Most Packages Get Delivered When No One’s Home

A root of the problem of package theft is one of scheduling. Most people work during the day. When delivery drivers and mail carriers are working at their jobs – delivering your packages – you are likely to be away working at your job. Hence you’re not home to receive your packages.

Despite the technological advances creating the possibility of “telecommuting”, most people continue to leave their homes to work. “On the days they worked, 83 percent of employed persons did some or all their work at their workplace,” reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Add to eight hours at the office, time spent commuting, going to the gym, the grocery store, to children’s afterschool sports etc. It all contributes to many hours when no one is home to retrieve packages left on the porch

4 Best Bets To Keep Packages Safe

Our research here at Deep Sentinel finds that it is considered a breach of etiquette to have personal packages delivered to your workplace. And you may not want to bother your neighbors who probably won’t be home either when a package for you gets delivered. Here’s what you can do instead:

Have Packages Held at a Secure Site – Most package delivery services have storefronts where you can pick up your package. UPS, FedEX and of course, the US Post Office all offer bricks and mortar options. Amazon, keenly aware of the problem, now offers a service called Amazon Locker. You receive a code via email or text that allows you to open a locker at whatever convenience store or other participating business you chose to have your order shipped to. Some companies like Target also offer in-store pick-up.

Install a Security Camera – A security camera can be a great deterrent. It can help to make sure would-be robbers know they’re being watched. A sign by your front door and driveway along with stickers on your window help make sure they know.

Opt For a Signature to be Required – Requiring a signature before a package can be dropped off can provide both a safety measure and documentation. It means the delivery person can’t just toss the package on the porch and walk away. You can designate a family member who will be home at the time of delivery to be the one who signs.

Specify Delivery Drop-Off Instructions –  Want that package tucked inside your recycling bin or hidden on the back porch? Some carriers let you tell them where to put the package. UPS, for example, offers an online tool, My Choice, as does FedEx, which offers Delivery Manager, according to a recent Consumer Reports review. Amazon Key lets couriers drop off packages inside your home.

More Online Shopping Creates More Porch Theft Opportunity

It’s not just holiday season – although that’s their busiest time. Porch pirates continue their evil ways all year long.

These brazen burglars take advantage of the fact that more people than ever are ordering stuff online. A Pew Research survey cited in TechCrunch found that eight out of ten Americans shop online. That is almost quadruple the 22% of Americans who shopped online in 2000; the first year Pew studied American consumers’ online buying. In addition, the most recent survey found that 15% of Americans order online every week.

That’s a lot of packages of primarily brand new – i.e. easy to resell – stuff left unattended on America’s front porches and doorsteps.

Take the extra step to guard against porch thieves. Your grandmother will be glad you got her gift.