Online shopping has made it easier for people with active schedules. With just a few clicks on any device, consumers can purchase gifts or food from the comfort of home. With this amount of convenience comes a problem, Security. With thousands of packages being left on front porches and doorsteps daily, criminals are taking advantage of the situation and stealing packages right off the owner’s property. The person stealing packages is also called a “porch pirate.” These opportunistic thieves gamble that packages may have high priced items in the box even though they don’t know what they are stealing.

Who These Porch Pirates Are and How They Operate

Stealing packages off a porch is on the rise due to the huge increase in the number of goods being delivered during the day. Porch pirates typically target homes where no one is home and the packages are dropped off in the morning and early afternoon, which gives crooks plenty of reason to be so bold. Sometimes thieves do their homework beforehand and watch the block to see which homes are more than likely to be empty during the day. It is estimated 23 million Americans report being victimized this way each year.

Although porch pirates hope to get expensive items, such as electronics or furniture, this crime is so low-risk that the thieves don’t mind if they end up with less expensive items once in a while. No matter how big or small the product, any direct delivery to a home is a potential risk for porch pirates. 

Prevention Methods

If you are concerned about falling prey to these modern thieves of the digital age, there are several preventive steps you can take. One of the simplest is to avoid having anything delivered when you’re not home. This could mean requiring a signature for deliveries or having a set delivery window for dropping the package off. You can also request the eCommerce organization to send the package to your workplace if feasible. Consider also investing in a storage locker, many retailers, such as Amazon, offer delivery to lockers in public places. These allow you to pick up packages at your convenience using a code provided to you. One drawback to these options is that these steps reduce the risk of theft but also eliminate many of the conveniences from online shopping in the first place. 

Another method for derailing porch pirates is to add security measures around your home or apartment. For example, video cameras like the popular Ring doorbell can notify you via your phone if they detect someone moving around your front door. This will allow you to know when every package has been dropped off as well as letting the potential thief know you’re watching. Motion-activated lights can be a powerful security tool as well, because most criminals prefer to work when they believe no one can see.

Don’t let the presence of porch pirates take the convenience away from shopping. For a summary of this information, make sure to check out the accompanying infographic below. 

Porch Pirates
Infographic created by Eye Trax