Though package theft, also referred to as “porch pirating,” has been an issue for many years, the frequency of this phenomenon has spiked since the pandemic. As more consumers have been ordering everything from groceries to furniture online, the opportunity for thieves to drive by any given street and spy a package waiting to be retrieved has increased.
Porch pirating peaks during the holiday season, and with packages from Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales starting to arrive, it’s best to be overly cautious and follow these tips to avoid package theft:
Stay on top of tracking your packages.
This may seem tedious, especially around the holidays when you’re likely to have more deliveries than usual; however, this simple tip is one of the best ways to prevent porch pirates. To make this easier, you can download package tracking apps, such as Route or Parcel, that allow you to follow the status of packages from multiple carriers and stores. Though not foolproof, most shipping carriers now have features in their tracking that guesstimate the delivery time down to a few hours. While it’s not always possible to be home to grab a package immediately after delivery, knowing when your package is going to arrive allows you to plan in advance, such as asking a neighbor who works from home to grab it for you.
If applicable, make sure it’s very clear that you have a video security system in place.
If you already have a Ring or other video security system, you may know that this won’t deter all package thieves. However, thieves look for homes in which it is easiest to quickly grab a package undetected, and having an obvious security system videoing your front porch will act as a deterrent to most. Alternatively, if you have a video security system in place and someone still steals a package off your doorstep, you’ll have something to go off of when you report the theft.
Require a signature to receive the package or ship it to a package locker or drop-off location.
While this may seem like an added layer of difficulty to either have to be home to receive your package or go to an external location, weigh this option against the alternative. This may not be necessary for every type of package you are ordering, such as more inexpensive or fast-shipping items. However, if whatever you are ordering is expensive, valuable, or will be difficult to replace if stolen, consider requiring a signature for delivery or shipping it directly to a locker or drop-off location designated by the shipping carrier.
Send your package to your office or another safe location where someone will always be available to receive it.
Obviously, the easiest way to prevent package theft is by having someone immediately retrieve the package upon delivery. If you don’t want to worry about being home to sign for a package or driving to a parcel locker to retrieve your packages, consider sending some of your more valuable items to your office (if this is permitted) or to a friend or family member who works from or stays at home. Of course, you should make sure to check that this is okay with your manager/boss or the friend or family member of your choice. In the case of the latter, consider a small gesture to show your appreciation.
Don’t join the nearly 20-25% of Americans who have had a package stolen in the last year alone (according to security.org). Take these preventative measures to have a safer and more stress-free holiday season.
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