How to Thwart Porch Pirates
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 by 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 is a rude ingrate. The recipient thinks the sender forgot about them or chose not to send them anything. It gets awkward. All because of porch pirates.
Porch piracy is a major issue, but you can put a stop to it. Here’s how.
Most Packages Get Delivered When No One Is Home
The root of the problem of package theft is scheduling. Most people work during the day. When delivery drivers and mail carriers drop off 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, many people continue to leave their homes to work. Beyond the eight hours at the office, add time spent commuting, going to the gym, grocery shopping, dropping kids at their activities, and … you get the point. It all contributes to many hours when no one is home to retrieve packages left on the porch.
More Online Shopping = More Porch Pirates
It’s not just the 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 found that eight out of 10 Americans shop online. That’s 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.
4 Tactics to Stop Porch Pirates
Maybe you don’t want to have personal packages delivered to your workplace or bother your neighbors (who probably aren’t home either) to intercept your package. Here’s what you can do instead.
Have Packages Held at a Secure Site
Most package delivery services have physical storefronts where you can pick up your package. UPS, FedEx, and of course, the US Postal Service all offer in-person pickup options.
Retailers are also getting in on the action. Amazon, keenly aware of the problem, offers a service called Amazon Locker. With this service, you choose one of their participating locker locations, typically at a gas station or similarly high-traffic store, to send your delivery. Then, you receive a code via email or text that allows you to open a designated locker and grab your items. In addition, many brick-and-mortar retailers like Target now offer in-store or curbside order pickup.
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 and stickers on your window help ensure they know. And if they still try to take your package, you’ll have a record of the entire incident (including their appearance).
Better yet, install Deep Sentinel home security cameras and enjoy the extra benefit of live security guard intervention. If someone so much as looks at your pile of packages for too long, a guard jumps in to raise the alert and call the police if needed.
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. It also means that you have tangible proof that the item reached its destination.
You can designate a family member who will be home at the time of delivery to be the one who signs. However, note that some deliveries may be age-restricted and require the person signing to be over 18 or 21 years old.
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. FedEx has a service called Delivery Manager. Amazon Key lets couriers drop off packages inside your home.
Make Porch Pirates a Thing of the Past
Take the extra step to guard against porch thieves. With Deep Sentinel guards watching your property through live video monitoring, porch pirates don’t stand a chance. Give us a call at 833.983.6006 to learn more.
Your grandmother will be glad you got her gift.