Porch piracy is a real thing. While there are no firm national statistics from the FBI, according to a survey by home security firm SafeWise, almost 50 percent of Americans had experienced package theft in 2020. This huge number might be related to the fact that so many more people are getting packages delivered at home due to the COVID19 pandemic. The same study found that more than 50 percent of Americans get packages delivered at least once a week.
The holidays are high season for porch piracy. According to a survey by Cove, a home security company, 37 percent of package thefts happen in December, compared with 21 percent in November and much lower percentages the rest of the year. All you have to do is type "porch pirate" into YouTube to see dozens of videos of suspected package thieves caught by doorbell cameras.
Police make arrests in less than 10 percent of home package theft cases reported to them, said City Journal. And even if the cops did arrest them, the crooks often just were charged with a misdemeanour. Several states have now taken action to make porch piracy a felony, with mandataory fines and jail time.
So how do you keep yourself from becoming a victim? Here are some ways:
- Ask a neighbor to hold your package until you get home.
- Have a package delivered to your office (if you're going there). Just check with your company that this is allowed.
- Use an Amazon locker. Amazon handles more than half of all online purchases in America, and has some ways to keep your packages safer. Customers can have items shipped to secure Amazon Lockers in 900 U.S. cities. These are kiosks located near grocery stores, apartment buildings and other heavily trafficked areas, where packages can be left securely. Once your package has been delivered, you can pick it up from a locker using a special security code. (You don't have to be a Prime member to use this service.)
- Use Amazon Key, an electronic lock system that allows Amazon delivery people to drop off packages directly inside your garage, gate or your house. This is for Prime customers only.
- Use a smart home security system like Ring or Nest, which has a doorbell camera and alerts you when someone is at your door. Having a system like this can be a deterrent to thieves.
- Check the services offered by the delivery companies. UPS offers a service that allows you to pick the date and time a package is delivered, so you can select a time when you'll be home (an additional fee applies). Packages can also be held at UPS Stores and other locations. FedEx allows you to have a package held at a local FedEx office or a Walgreens store or other locations. The U.S. Postal Service can also hold your packages or redirect delivery. All these companies will also notify you when a package has been delivered if you've created an account with them.
Originally Published: Dec 4, 2019