How to Protect Packages from Porch Pirates

Whether it’s the holiday season or any given weekday, porch pirates are a growing concern. These types of thieves can be exceptionally brazen as they steal packages right off the porch without a care. We aren’t exaggerating when we say millions of packages are picked up by porch pirates every year in North America. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent porch piracy. 

Porch Pirates
Photo by Kindel Media

What Are Poarch Pirates?

Porch pirates are simply people who steal packages left on doorsteps, porches, or other drop-off locations. Some do so because it’s easy—they have the opportunity to get something of value and doubt they’ll get caught. Smaller packages with expensive items (e.g., phones, video game systems, or laptops) are the most likely to “disappear,” yet there are people who just enjoy the thrill of taking something—anything.

How to Prevent Package Thief

If you know your package is being delivered, there are steps you can take to ensure it gets into the right hands (i.e., yours). We can’t all be like Mark Rober and set up an elaborate glitter bomb with cameras to catch a thief. It’s just not practical. (Though we do salute him!) But there are preventative security measures each of us can take.

One of the best, easiest options is to install video surveillance, which can deter thieves and help identify and track them down to help prevent future thefts. 

You can also work with the retailer or credit card company if a package has been stolen. Most major retailers, as well as many credit card companies, have some theft protection provided for customers. Unfortunately, you still need to take the time and effort to deal with the company to process a replacement or refund. As is often the case, prevention is the best cure for porch piracy.

To help protect your packages from porch pirates:

    • Set up Package Tracking: This way, you know when your package will hit your doorstep, so you can keep an eye out and get it inside as soon as possible. Plus, if you’ve been notified of its delivery but it’s no longer on your porch, you’ll be able to take immediate action.  
    • Require a Signature: One of the simplest options is to avoid having packages left on the porch altogether. Just opting for “signature required” when checking out can mean the package is only delivered if you’re there. This is a great option if you’re typically home. However, if you miss the delivery person, you may have to chase down your package to have it redelivered or pick it up.  
    • Use a Lockable Box: If you get packages delivered regularly, it can be worth affixing a box or safe, if you will, made with durable materials to your porch. The delivery person can then place the package into the lockbox, so it’s securely stowed away. It isn’t foolproof as a determined thief can still find their way in. But it can deter opportunistic porch pirates or give more time for them to be scared off.   
    • Package Receiving Services: Especially for those who live in apartments or near busy locations, it’s often worth having your packages delivered to a location near your home or work, where the package can be safely locked away until you have time to pick it up. You can also sign up for curbside delivery, where you go to a retailer to pick up your package. This does, of course, mean you’ll have to take the time to pick up the package, so it’s only helpful if it’s in a convenient location. 
    • Leave Instructions on Where to Leave Your Package: There’s often a place to leave specific instructions so your package isn’t left in plain view. For instance, you could have packages delivered to a side door that’s not visible from the road. You can also leave instructions to have the parcel delivered to a trusted neighbor you know will be home. 
    • Hold the Package: Some delivery services allow you to have the package held at your local post office until you pick it up. Do be aware that some posts have only a limited amount of space available, so you’ll want to pick up your parcel as soon as possible.
    • Get to Know Your Delivery Drivers: If you get packages delivered regularly, you probably have the same people stopping by. Being friendly and getting to know the drivers allows you the opportunity to let them know where to leave packages, so they’re less likely to be seen and thus less likely to be stolen. Plus, drivers often have discretion when delivering packages. For example, if they notice something’s off at the home (e.g., strangers are around the house or apartment next door), they can leave a notice rather than your package to help prevent theft.
    • Create a Neighborhood Network: Often, the same neighborhoods get hit, creating an ongoing issue. Get to know the people who live around you and agree to keep an eye on deliveries and watch for strangers. If you know you have a package that’s being delivered when a trusted neighbor is typically home, you may even ask if you can have the package delivered to them if you’re away. (Don’t forget to offer to return the favor.) 
    • Redirect the Delivery: If you spend most of your time at work, you can also avoid issues with porch pirates by having your packages delivered to your work address. Just don’t forget to clear it with your bosses. And remember, your coworkers will also see where you shop. You may also then have to transport a heavy or bulky box back home.
Porch Pirates
Photo by Kindel Media

Home Security Protection from Porch Pirates

One of the best deterrents for thefts, including package thefts, is a home security system. This helps scare away would-be invaders and petty thefts by providing motion detectors, 24/7 monitoring, yard signs and window decals, and more. Many porch pirates are just opportunists. They see the package there, and they’re tempted to snatch it. Having a security system in place will likely keep them walking by, especially with lights that flash on and security cameras on the porch or near any doors to record their movements.

A security camera can also provide evidence for law enforcement. Doorbell cameras can be especially useful for alerting you and recording anyone who comes to your door. ADT (now Telus) doorbell cameras offer clear images of anyone who approaches the door along with built-in motion detectors to alert you via your smartphone when someone’s at your door. The cameras are also set up with night vision, so you’ll be able to identify who’s there even when the lights are low.

Finally, the systems also provide a two-way audio system that allows you to communicate with anyone who stops by. 

An ADT (now Telus) monitored alarm system from Alarm Guard will keep you feeling secure and protect you from porch pirates and more. Plus, it could help you save on homeowner’s insurance! Check out our packages and call now for a free quote at 1-855-518-4458 and talk with an expert about the best smart home solutions to fit your needs.

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