“Porch pirates” is a phrase used to describe people who steal packages off other people’s front porches. Though the phenomenon is not necessarily an epidemic, it may feel like it. Especially when you see the proliferation of Ring doorbell and security camera videos capturing these scurvy dogs.
If you’ve been the victim of a porch pirate, it can definitely make you more conscious of your safety when it comes to packages. If you’re looking for a way to thwart porch pirates, you may want to look into these ways to do it:
-Require a signature
-Have the package delivered to work
-Get a P.O. Box
-Get a porch safe
-Suggest a hidden location
-Set up your own security camera
-Check out the overall safety of your neighborhood
Require a Signature
With all major delivery services, including UPS, USPS, FedEx, and DHL, you generally have the option to choose “signature required” when setting up a delivery. That means an adult has to sign for the package when it arrives, or the delivery person will take it back to try to deliver it again the next business day.
This can be inconvenient if you work a 9-to-5 job, but it’s a useful tool if you’re receiving a valuable item.
Receive the Package at Work
Why not bypass the porch altogether? If you know for sure that your porch is not a safe place to leave packages, consider having it delivered to you at your office instead.
This is dependent, of course, on how tolerant your work is about people receiving personal packages. So, be sure to check first before changing your delivery address.
Get a P.O. Box
P.O. Boxes are available in USPS centers around the United States, and renting a small one can be pretty inexpensive. You can also choose what goes to your P.O. Box and what goes to your home. Simply send important packages to the P.O. Box address and route the rest of your items to your home address.
The only thing to remember is that some companies don’t deliver to P.O. Boxes, so you might not be able to use it for all your packages.
Find a Package Guard Device
If you’re worried about porch pirates, a package safe or some other storage device can be very useful. One branded device, the Package Guard, allows you to create a safe place to store your package. If a thief tries to steal it without entering the passcode, an alarm sounds, alerting anyone nearby to the theft.
Although this branded option has caused quite the buzz online, there are other package guarding options you can use if you want to set up a system outside your home.
Request Package Drop-Off in a Hidden Location
Your porch is the most obvious, and therefore convenient, place for a delivery person to leave your packages. But that doesn’t mean they can’t leave the package around the back, or behind a large bush, if prompted.
You can make just such a suggestion in any “special delivery requests” fields when you place an order. Or, see if you can talk to your delivery person about it yourself. If you can establish a good relationship with your regular person, they will likely remember where you like packages to go moving forward.
Set up a Security Camera
Security cameras are a great way to deter theft and crime in general, and one of those benefits is deterring porch pirates. If a potential thief sees that you have a security camera watching the front of your home, that person will probably be less likely to steal your deliveries.
It’s also helpful in case it does happen. That way, you have a record of who the person is. Plus, you can prove that someone stole your package if you’re trying to get compensation from an insurance company.
Make Sure Your Neighborhood Is Safe
Another way to avoid having your packages stolen is to try and make sure you live in a safe neighborhood in the first place. While certainly no guarantee, when you live in a neighborhood that’s largely free of crime, you’ll probably be less likely to have to deal with porch pirates.
It’s most helpful to do this kind of research before you move to the area. But if you’re already there, you can still try to identify specific neighbors who may be dangerous or inclined to steal your packages.
Perform an address lookup on the homes in your neighborhood. You will hopefully be able to get the names of the people closest to you. From there, you can perform a criminal records search to try and find out if anyone has theft or violent crimes on their record.
No method can stop porch pirates 100% of the time. However, if you’re willing to take just a few additional steps, you can at least limit the possibility, and make it easier to catch anyone who does take off with your packages.
And make them walk the plank. (Sorry, had to do it.)
Image attribution: Mstock – stock.adobe.com