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Preventing Porch Pirates

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With online shopping on the rise, the e-commerce sector now accounts for about 12% of U.S. retail sales. The result is a constant influx of parcels arriving at personal residences, in cities and suburbs alike. Apartment buildings in major cities are hotspots when it comes to package theft, especially when there are unmonitored mailrooms and a lack of security systems. Late last year, more than 90,000 packages delivered in New York City disappeared or were stolen daily.

Who Are They?

In what has become a relatively common occurrence, an estimated 23 million Americans have had packages stolen from their homes. Porch pirates swipe deliveries from doorsteps, and are strategic in their methods. Some follow delivery trucks and wait for the drivers to make their deliveries and leave. Others stake out a specific neighbourhood and target homes that regularly have packages delivered. 

Online retailers usually don’t draw attention to the contents of their shipping boxes. Simple, unmarked cardboard boxes are standard. Amazon is one of the largest online retailers in the world, and there’s really no telling what’s in an unopened box. So, porch pirates often don’t know exactly what they’re stealing. And while law enforcement might respond to these incidents, officers probably won’t launch a full investigation if the missing product is replaceable. This can lead to low risk, high reward opportunities for porch pirates. 

What Can You Do?

As convenient as it is to add a product to your online cart, shopping in person is a surefire way to ensure your purchases make it home. A shopping trip to a brick-and-mortar retailer also provides human contact that can reduce anxiety, depression and antisocial behavior. However, if online shopping works best for you, you can take certain steps to prevent package theft.

It can be problematic for packages to be left on the doorstep, as that’s usually unprotected and out in the open. Without a private or hidden delivery area, anyone can walk up to your door and swipe a box. Instead, you may choose to give special instructions for boxes to be placed out of view from the street, such as at the side of your house or behind a planter. 

If you want extra security, a home security system or a video doorbell that monitors whoever comes to your door may be a good option. Package lockboxes are another way to thwart a porch pirate’s plans. With permission from your company’s human resources department, you might even choose to have packages delivered to your work site. This can ensure that you personally receive the delivery and, as an added bonus, keep gifts for members of your household from being revealed. 

If you’ve been waiting several days for a package to arrive, it’s disappointing to come home and discover it was stolen from your doorstep. These thefts occur more often around the holidays, but there are measures you can take to protect your deliveries year-round. To prevent the growing threat from porch pirates, check out our tips for protecting yourself and your packages. 

Author bio: Jerry McSorley is the owner of Eye Trax, the leading provider of solar-powered wireless outdoor security cameras. After working many years within the construction industry, McSorley needed a way to monitor and secure his multiple construction sites. Combining his mechanical engineering degree from Rochester Institute of Technology and extensive business owner experience, he invented an innovative surveillance camera system. 

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