Combat Porch Piracy This Holiday Shopping Season With These 11 Steps - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise magazine Fall 2019 issue

With the holiday shopping season unfolding soon, now is the time consumers should consider taking steps to prevent thieves from stealing packages or gifts off porches.

That activity tends to surge with the run-up to Thanksgiving and Christmas, law enforcement officials say. As a growing number of people buy packages online via websites like Amazon and have gifts sent to homes of family and friends, so-called “porch piracy”  behavior rises. The problem could be elevated even more this year with a strong economy, something to perhaps give thieves more desire to loot.

Some 34% of American adults—more than a third—have had a package stolen from their porch or know someone who has, a study by Reviews.com found. The incidents jumped 45% for those aged 18-34.

Around 78% of the adults report that they are at least “a little concerned” about being burglarized (or other crimes taking place on their property).

Twenty-three percent of U.S. adults are “somewhat concerned” and 14% are “very concerned” about being burglarized or having other crimes occur on their property. Another report contends nearly 26 million Americans say they’ve had a package stolen from a porch or doorstep during the holidays, a 2017 survey from InsuranceQuotes.com indicates.

A new survey by Clutch reveals that 51% of online shoppers say they did not receive at least one package they ordered online in the past six months. A Washington, D.C.-based business ratings and review firm, Clutch surveyed 528 U.S. respondents. Of those, 16% say the package was stolen and 29% aren’t clear why their package was never delivered.

Yet, there are many steps consumers can apply to help prevent porch poachers from taking the cheer out of their holiday shopping season:

  1. Consider installing a secure drop box for packages. Perhaps try to find one that can be attached to your property and have contents enclosed.
  2. Thick about installing security devices—maybe surveillance cameras that can be seen by would-be thieves but are untouchable—to deter package theft.
  3. Get a smart lock. Have a courier or delivery person enter a unique code that unlocks the front door when the package is delivered. Then, they can place the package inside, close the door, and re-lock it. The passcode expires and your packages are safe and secure.
  4. See if you can have shipments come directly to you. Perhaps your employer will allow packages to be shipped to you at work, perhaps its mailroom for instance, versus your home.
  5. Check to see if neighbors or friends home during the day might be open to collecting your packages.
  6. Set up and schedule packages when you are at home. These apps also allow you to delay or redirect  packages: FedEx Delivery Manager, UPS My Choice, and, USPS Hold Mail.
  7. Examine security over convenience. Have packages kept at a delivery service store or post office where you can pick them up.
  8. Demand a signature for packages you’re sending to yourself and family and friends.
  9. Ask those you’re sending packages to for details on the safest way for them to receive them.
  10. Leave a note to have the package left where it cannot be seen. Remember, porch pirates look for packages that are easy to see and take.
  11. Look into self-service pick-up lockers as an option. Some 45% of online shoppers told Clutch they have used a self-service package pick-up locker before. The firm reports FedEx Ship & Get, UPS Access Point, USPS gopost, and Amazon Locker respectively as the most popular secure pick-up lockers.