Al Diaz of Rialto, California watched packages his father ordered get ripped off minutes after they were delivered. This grinch of a porch pirate drove away with over $1,000 worth of gifts in seconds. A pair of pajamas he had purchased for his dog and himself, as well as three Movado watches, said to be worth a combined $1,000, were all stolen from his porch in plain sight.
Thanks to online shopping and delivery services, holiday shopping has never been easier.Rather than deal with the hustle and bustle of shopping malls and department stores, people are now able to perform all of their holiday shopping with one click from the comfort of their own homes.
Unfortunately, the gifts don’t always make it to their intended recipients, as across the country, packages have continued to disappear mysteriously from doorsteps and patios.No, it’s not the devilish Grinch trying to steal Christmas, but rather what has come to be known as “porch pirates.“
According to a recent study by research company Safewise, 260 million packages, collectively worth an estimated $19.5 billion have already been stolen from porches across the country in the last 12 months.
This is a statistic that is no doubt only going to grow as the holiday season approaches.
Armed and dangerous
Things got even more frightening in Antioch, Tennessee, where three porch pirates were spotted following a FedEx delivery truck and stealing the packages being delivered.
What’s more, these men were spotted carrying loaded guns.
Thankfully, after the black Dodge Charger they were driving was reported, the three culprits were caught, arrested and charged.
The police are on the lookout.
With reports of stolen packages continuing to grow, local authorities are doing their best to keep an eye out for porch pirates.
The police department of Van Alstyne, Texas even came up with a surefire way of ensuring packages make it to their intended recipients this holiday season.
By allowing residents to have their packages delivered to the police station.
With the station being open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Van Alstyne residents are permitted to show up any time to pick up their presents, only needing to show a valid form of ID.
Should your local police department not be offering this service, however, or if you’d rather not have to make the trek to the police station to pick up your presents, fear not.
As previously reported on a story at CyberGuy.com, there are 8 simple methods to avoid becoming the victim of local porch pirates.
Best ways to avoid porch pirate package theft
Invest in a video doorbell
Installing a video doorbell, such as WYZE, could potentially stop a porch pirate dead in their tracks.
Even if it doesn’t deter them from thievery, you will still get an alert that someone has approached your front porch door, whether they ring the doorbell or not, catching them red-handed, with their face fully visible.
You could even go a step further and install cameras on trees around your driveway, possibly getting a clear shot of a license plate. While this won’t guarantee you’ll get back your stolen merchandise, it will greatly help your local police track down the culprits.
Pick A Delivery Date
Most online retailers allow you to schedule a delivery date, giving you a day and rough wind of time when the package will arrive. This allows you to be ready and waiting for its arrival and safely stash your presents away behind locked doors.
Amazon, UPS and FedEx are also able to alert you if you’ve received a delivery.
Get To Know Your Delivery Drivers
Next time you see your mail carrier arrive at your home, introduce yourself, and maybe ask if he can place your packages in a less conspicuous place than the front porch.
Porch pirates all but exclusively snatch packages from front porches, where it’s easy for them to grab them and even easier to run away. Having your packages placed at the back door or another more stealth location is bound to keep them safer.
In select areas, Amazon even offers a service known as Amazon Key, where with the purchase of a smart garage controller such as myQ, Amazon delivery drivers can leave your packages securely in your garage.
Rest assured, drivers are only granted access to your garage for the one-time delivery.
Another way to ensure your packages will be securely waiting for you when you get home is to invest in secure delivery boxes, such as The Elephantrunk Parcel Drop.
Deliveries are placed in the top of the box, then lowered into a locked chamber only accessible by the owner.
Shock-absorbing cushions as well as water-resistant coating ensure your items will be safe from thieves and the elements alike.
Of course, if you’d rather not invest in a lock box of your own, and don’t mind making the trip, you can always have your packages delivered to an Amazon locker.
Once your package has arrived, you will receive a notification and a delivery.
Stay alert for pirates in the neighborhood
By signing up for a neighborhood watch app such as Neighbors or Nextdoor, you can keep track of any stolen packages in your neighborhood, where users also post any pictures of porch pirates they might have caught on their doorbell cameras.
One thing to keep in mind should you happen to spot a porch pirate stealing a package, try to avoid “being the hero”.
As much as we want to jump into action and stop them, one never knows just how dangerous these porch pirates might be, so best to call the police or notify another neighbor before taking matters into your own hands.
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