If there is one positive about online shopping for brick-and-mortar retailers, it is the fact that fewer shoppers inside the store mean fewer shoplifters as well. But what is good for brick-and-mortar retailers is not necessarily good for consumers. If you need proof, do a brief internet search on porch piracy. Porch piracy is now the new shoplifting. Rather than taking a risk by shoplifting at a brick-and-mortar retailer, enterprising thieves are driving around neighborhoods looking for packages left on porches. In seconds they can swipe a package and be gone.
Porch piracy is a growing epidemic. According to research released earlier in 2019:
- 11 million homeowners were victims of porch piracy last year
- 19% of all homeowners have been victimized within the last 12 months
- 50% of all homeowners receive at least one package delivered per week
- 74% of all packages are stolen during the daylight hours.
As you might expect, porch piracy increases at certain times of the year. The busiest time of the year is the Christmas shopping season. From mid-October through the end of December, porch pirates are working as hard as UPS, FedEx, Amazon, etc.
Strategies to Prevent Porch Piracy
No one wants to be a porch pirate victim. So just as retail stores take steps to prevent shoplifting, homeowners can take steps to prevent porch piracy. The first and most obvious step is to install some sort of video surveillance system. Porch pirates do not like video cameras for obvious reasons.
They are smart enough to know that video cameras can capture both their faces and the vehicles they drive. So homeowners can take a big step toward protecting themselves by installing either a video doorbell or surveillance camera. Installing both is an even better idea.
A video doorbell or front door video camera installed as part of a complete home security system is the best option of all. Homeowners get more comprehensive protection along with additional equipment to prevent burglary and vandalism.
Installing a Porch Safe
Another strategy is to install a porch safely. The porch safe is exactly as its name implies: a safe installed on the porch for the purposes of receiving packages. A customer with a porch safe provides the shipper or retailer with the combination to the safe at the time of purchase. As an added benefit, homeowners can change the combination with every purchase. The best porch safes can be attached to the porch or wall with bolts.
However, even a non-attached safe can be highly effective if it is heavy enough. Porch pirates will not go to the trouble of trying to steal a heavy safe because they cannot do it quickly or inconspicuously enough.
Leaving Specific Delivery Instructions
It has been suggested by some security experts that homeowners can leave detailed delivery instructions for drivers. This typically means leaving a note attached to the front door or providing special instructions online at the time of ordering. This system can work well, except for the fact that delivery drivers can and do ignore instructions.
Homeowners who choose to utilize this method have to be very detailed. If instructions are too vague, they are likely to be ignored or misunderstood. Along with the instructions should be a final statement asking the delivery driver to take the note with him or her so that it will not be found by someone else.
Work With Your Neighbors
Regardless of the strategy a homeowner chooses to employ, it is a good idea to let neighbors know that packages are coming. Neighbors can watch out for one another this way. A group of neighbors could even get together and create a plan whereby one or two are responsible for gathering all the packages on a given day.
Police agencies will tell you that neighborhood watch programs work. The more neighbors keep an eye on one another’s properties, the less likely burglars are to get away with burglary. It turns out the same is true with porch piracy. Neighbors watching neighbors keep porch pirates away.
Unfortunately, porch piracy is the new shoplifting. It is up to consumers to stop porch pirates by taking away their opportunities.