Simple Tips to Prevent Porch Piracy
Online shopping makes life more convenient in just about every way. From ordering groceries to gifts to technology and more, a simple click of the computer mouse or swipe on your phone allows you to receive an online order from just about any store.
However, with convenience comes a host of other issues, including a rise in online package theft. Our annual 2020 porch piracy study confirms this increase.
Porch pirates are thieves that troll residential areas looking for the telltale signs of package delivery. They scope out front porches and front entrance areas for cardboard boxes that indicate an online product delivery.
Some thieves even follow delivery trucks through neighborhoods to track drop-offs, box sizes, and even perceived box weight. They are often insidious, hitting multiple homes in one community because of the prevalence of online shopping.
Preventing package theft is a challenge if you are not around when the delivery takes place. However, it doesn't have to derail your online shopping experience.
Consider a few tips to stop these thieves in their tracks.
Request Signature Confirmation
One way to prevent porch pirates from pilfering your purchases is through signature confirmation upon delivery. Most delivery services allow you to include a provision that requires your signature to ensure receipt of the package in question.
Signature confirmation may mean limitations on delivery windows or a slight delivery delay, but it is well worth to prevent your package from being stolen.
Moreover, it ensures that you are home to receive your package, which means that it will not sit outside in the elements or be subject to theft.
Request Delivery To Another Spot Around Your Home
Most package delivery services allow you to include specific instructions. Request delivery in a less-obvious spot, such as a back porch or behind shrubs in the yard.
A hidden spot ensures that your package is not such an easy mark for thieves.
Try a Key Service
Some companies offer key services, in which you give the company in question permission to enter your garage, vehicle, or home to place packages inside. This protects the package and prevents thieves from getting their hands on it.
Make sure you read the policies regarding these services before signing on to ensure you are comfortable with this personal of a delivery process.
Ask for Plain Packaging
If you've had an issue with package theft in the past, there are ways to mitigate future occurrences. One option is to request delivery in a non-descript box.
After all, if a wandering porch pirate sees the name of a popular or expensive brand on the box, they are more likely to grab than they might a plain brown cardboard version. This is especially true of expensive technology brands, which are prime targets for thieves.
De-Clutter Your Front Porch
Don't make it easier for package thieves by cluttering up your front porch with so many items that it's easy not to notice if something is amiss. Keep your front porch clear of items, so that when a package is delivered, it is noticeable to all of your neighbors and harder for a porch pirate to grab it.
Purchase A Box With A Lock
Because this issue has become so problematic, you can now purchase large bins with padlocks that offer remote entry. Meaning you can either provide a code to delivery personnel or unlock the box yourself manually so the delivery driver can place the package in it.
This allows you the convenience of any-time delivery without worrying about porch piracy.
Sign Up For Delivery Alerts
One of the reasons that porch pirates are so successful is because delivery windows are expansive, which means you never know when a package will be dropped off. Companies that do not alert you to the drop off make it even easier for thieves to grab your package before you know what happened.
Delivery alerts fix that issue, especially those accompanied by a picture as proof of delivery.
Then, you have the option to either make a quick run home to grab it (or ask a family member to do the same) or ask a neighbor to look out for it or. At the very least, if the package is stolen, you have a frame of reference to alert security guards or the police. They can then determine if there was any suspicious activity in the neighborhood around that time.
Have Packages Delivered To Work
If you are expecting an essential package, opt to have it delivered to your workplace. This ensures that you receive it without having to jump through extra hoops to prevent package theft.
Request Delivery to a Neighbor
If you're friendly with a neighbor who happens to be home during the day, ask if they would be willing to receive packages on your behalf. This is an easy way to prevent package theft while also forming good relationships with those in your community.
Set Up Security Cameras
Cameras increase home safety and deter porch piracy. You can opt for the ever-popular doorbell camera system or traditional cameras positioned over your porch.
When requesting delivery, ask that packages be placed in view of the camera, so that you can see if someone tries to grab it and go.
Report Package Thefts
Reporting theft is only something you can only do after the fact, but it is still useful in preventing future package thefts. If porch piracy is an issue in your community, alerting the police allows them to be on the lookout for more problems.
Reporting the crime may also compel others in the neighborhood to be vigilant about suspicious activity and deter thieves from operating in the same community. Community policing can help discourage thieves and save packages all over the block.
Preventing porch piracy requires some creative planning on your part. However, it is well worth the effort to ensure you can continue to enjoy online shopping convenience without the stress of the theft that results from those unsavory characters willing to take advantage of the experience.