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“Porch Pirates” Can Steal Your Holiday Cheer

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Sentry18

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This is where CPTED comes in handy (crime prevention through environmental design). Not to mention video cameras.


https://misanthrope.today/2019/12/04/porch-pirates-can-steal-your-holiday-cheer/

“Porch Pirates” Can Steal Your Holiday Cheer

Americans lost some $26 million in value because holiday packages left on their porches were stolen in 2017, according to a study conducted by InsuanceQuotes.com.

And it’s not just the holidays.


In fact, some 34% of American adults—more than a third—have had a package filched from their porch or know someone who has, according to a study by Reviews.com.

The incidents jumped to 45% for those aged 18-34.

The thieves, dubbed “porch pirates,” often follow UPS or Fed Ex trucks to homes and wait to see if the delivered packages are retrieved by residents.

If not, they swoop in, steal the packages, and are gone in less than a minute.

Some thieves go a step further, breaking into the home and stealing furniture and valuables.

It’s becoming an epidemic.

Homeowners are especially vulnerable during holidays because many are traveling but still receive Xmas gifts from family and friends.

When patrolling thieves notice that packages are still lying on someone’s porch after a day or two, they know they have an easy mark.

Some homeowners do have alarms and front-door security cameras. But they’re not always a deterrent for thieves wearing face masks that are in and out of your house in a matter of minutes.

Porch piracy is occurring everywhere, fueling a “doorbell” security industry that’s generated $500 million in annual revenues in just over 6 years.

Yet for reasons unknown, some U.S. cities are more vulnerable than others.

A report earlier this year by Safewise, a home security system, listed Austin, Salt Lake City, Miami, and Atlanta as cities where residents were most likely to get a package snatched.

Last year, the South Carolina legislature approved a bill that upped the criminal penalties for package-snatching from a misdemeanor to a felony.

And police in some locales have begun partnering with Amazon in “sting” operations to capture package thieves.

For example, in Jersey City cops left unattended packages containing GPS devices on porches in areas where theft had been widespread. When thieves promptly stole the packages, police tracked them down.

Still, law enforcement sources estimate that just 10% of package thieves are ever caught. And those are just the minority of cases where the victims actually decide to report the thefts.

As online purchasing and home product delivery continues to grow, porch piracy is likely to grow, too.

Improving home security and increasing the penalties for theft may help but these measures are not likely to solve the problem.

In fact, with the items being shipped – including expensive prescription medications – steadily increasing in value – porch thieves will have an even stronger incentive to steal in the future.

Despite the growing challenge, experts say there are simple prevention steps available to prevent porch pirates from stealing your goods — and your holiday cheer. They include:

  • Install a secure drop box for packages. They range in price from $45.00 to $300.00, depending on their size. If you receive a lot of packages, this one-time purchase is well worth it.
  • 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. (Of course, make sure the courier has been properly vetted).
  • Ask neighbors at home during the day whether they’re willing collect your packages. (This is the old-fashioned solution that may not apply in an age where so many neighbors barely know each other).
  • Use an app to delay or redirect packages until you know you’ll be home – for example, FedEx Delivery Manager, UPS My Choice, and, USPS Hold Mail.
  • Have packages kept at a delivery service store or post office where you can pick them up.
  • Leave a note to have your package left where it cannot be seen (e.g. behind bushes or at the back door).
  • Use a self-service pick-up locker.
  • Arrange to have your packages shipped to you at work. (This is a solution of last resort. If it’s the holidays you may not be able to retrieve your packages for some time).
These are simple common-sense solutions that work and they don’t cost much (if anything) to implement. In the online age, thieves are becoming smarter and more opportunistic and consumers are becoming more vulnerable. Knowing the risk and taking appropriate action is essential.
 

VenomJockey

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Peanut

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This morning I was joking with an employee I know at the auto-parts store in town. She had found a way around porch pirates... She had her insta-pot and another package delivered to work.

I was teasing her... Did an instapot come with the set of shocks I was buying... :D

Porch pirate (1)a.jpg
 

Sparky_D

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I get my important stuff shipped to my work, then reward the shipping department with plates of home made baked goods.

We also have had a PO Box for over 15 years and regularly use that as an option.


I admire people like this who target porch pirates:

 
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Weedygarden

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I believe that in the not too distant future, having a package delivered to your front step will no longer be allowed by many companies. A delivery man told me that 30% of all packages in America are stolen. Who pays for that? Consumers, much like they do when people shoplift.

There are options! You can have packages delivered to secure locations. 7-11 has Amazon lockers where your package can be secured until you pick it up. You can have packages delivered to many work locations. I know someone who has a special built box in front of her home just for packages. She told me there is a way to have it locked after deliveries, but they don't do that any more and packages are not being stolen because people have gotten used to seeing the box and no one is seeing the packages inside.

Someone I know who lives in the inner city who had riding boots delivered that were stolen. No package thief has any idea about riding boots in the inner city, let alone wears her size! They were probably sold, black market, for pennies on the $200 value of the boots.
 
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Sentry18

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Around here you see little locking containers like this or even deck boxes sitting around entrances to homes. Delivery companies but boxes in them then snap the paddle lock shut. They are not invincible of course, but most porch pirates want the grab and go not fiddle with a lock. While I have most packages delivered to my office, we do from time to time have them lock them up in our deck box.

shed.jpg
 

Bacpacker

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Saw a story on the news tonight. Family got hit 3 times in a week, and had a camera showing the door from a side view. Lady looked to be 50-60 ish that was stealing them. First 2 were baby goods. 3rd package was put together with a dirty diaper turned wrong side out. The lady put it between front door and screen door. Sure enough next day same lady showed up and grabbed it. Nice surprise for her I'm sure. Story ended saying leo's caught the lady.
 

Weedygarden

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Saw a story on the news tonight. Family got hit 3 times in a week, and had a camera showing the door from a side view. Lady looked to be 50-60 ish that was stealing them. First 2 were baby goods. 3rd package was put together with a dirty diaper turned wrong side out. The lady put it between front door and screen door. Sure enough next day same lady showed up and grabbed it. Nice surprise for her I'm sure. Story ended saying leo's caught the lady.
Sometimes it is neighbors who have nothing to do but wait for the delivery truck. Many of them are diesel and the sound of them is recognizable.
Anything that makes the news enough gets others started. The idea may not have been theirs until they see that others are doing it.
 

Sentry18

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We had a bracelet taken last year.
My wife had a necklace stolen out of the UPS truck! Didn't even make it to our house. Showed "out for delivery" and then suddenly it was lost. UPS eventually admitted that while a driver was delivering some packages someone went into the truck and took several small packages.
 

Weedygarden

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I don't order much stuff online, but there is a suggestion that you open your boxes from the bottom and then reseal them with cat or other kinds of feces and put the box back out for the porch pirates. My guess is that if I had had a package delivered yesterday, the guy who wanted to go to my backyard would have taken it. Some people spend their lives taking from others.
 

VenomJockey

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My wife had a necklace stolen out of the UPS truck! Didn't even make it to our house. Showed "out for delivery" and then suddenly it was lost. UPS eventually admitted that while a driver was delivering some packages someone went into the truck and took several small packages.
Their "security" is nonexistent!
 

Sentry18

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Their "security" is nonexistent!
And they don't care, they have no reason too. These delivery companies don't suffer a loss and neither to the retailers. Like Weedy said they pass it on to us through increased costs. The same way stores like Walmart and Target ignore most shoplifting events. Confronting shoplifters creates liability and that could cost them. But just raising prices a bit covers their losses.
 

VenomJockey

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And they don't care, they have no reason too. These delivery companies don't suffer a loss and neither to the retailers. Like Weedy said they pass it on to us through increased costs. The same way stores like Walmart and Target ignore most shoplifting events. Confronting shoplifters creates liability and that could cost them. But just raising prices a bit covers their losses.
Sad, but true. "Nonconfrontation" has become the policy......lawsuit liability has replaced "law and order."
 

HippoTwilight

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I've had the FedEx drivers (independent contractors, not direct FedEx employees), leave boxes at the base of my mailbox.
Some postal drivers leave packages against my garage door, front and center for the world to see.
Seems like only UPS is good about leaving it at the door. Some of them are nice enough to tuck it behind the bushes, others leave it visible from the street, but by the door is better than out in the open.
Nov-Jan I have packages delivered to a UPS store where we rent a box.
 

Weedygarden

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I've had the FedEx drivers (independent contractors, not direct FedEx employees), leave boxes at the base of my mailbox.
Some postal drivers leave packages against my garage door, front and center for the world to see.
Seems like only UPS is good about leaving it at the door. Some of them are nice enough to tuck it behind the bushes, others leave it visible from the street, but by the door is better than out in the open.
Nov-Jan I have packages delivered to a UPS store where we rent a box.
I know someone who has a mailbox, like you see in the country. Then he has the larger version for packages. I am not sure if it says USPS or not, but I really think having a place for packages is coming, USPS or not.
 

Terri9630

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Theft is so bad at our desert place that the post master gave me the street address of the post office and said to send all of our packages there with our box # as the second line of the address. Nothing left at the house, nothing stolen.
 

Weedygarden

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Theft is so bad at our desert place that the post master gave me the street address of the post office and said to send all of our packages there with our box # as the second line of the address. Nothing left at the house, nothing stolen.
I suggested to one of the many complaints on Nextdoor Neighbor about a stolen package that there are several options of places to have packages delivered where they are secure until you go pick them up. Someone said, "We shouldn't have to do that." I did not reply, but it would be great if we lived in a world where people didn't take other people's stuff. But since that isn't the way of the world now, you have to do what you have to do to protect yourself and your property. I thought about saying, "We shouldn't have to lock our doors, but we do." We do things to protect ourselves and our property because of what happens. Leave your chicken coop door open overnight and you will have a fox, raccoon, and other unwanted visitors.

Maybe having delivery centers will become a thing where packages can be retrieved. Something has to happen since 30% of all packages are being stolen.
 

VenomJockey

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I suggested to one of the many complaints on Nextdoor Neighbor about a stolen package that there are several options of places to have packages delivered where they are secure until you go pick them up. Someone said, "We shouldn't have to do that." I did not reply, but it would be great if we lived in a world where people didn't take other people's stuff. But since that isn't the way of the world now, you have to do what you have to do to protect yourself and your property. I thought about saying, "We shouldn't have to lock our doors, but we do." We do things to protect ourselves and our property because of what happens. Leave your chicken coop door open overnight and you will have a fox, raccoon, and other unwanted visitors.

Maybe having delivery centers will become a thing where packages can be retrieved. Something has to happen since 30% of all packages are being stolen.
30% is a pretty high percentage, but entirely believable, especially if you're anywhere near a ghetto. In Mobile, the gangs wait until dark, follow the delivery trucks and literally strip them of packages while the driver is delivering to someone's door!!
 

Weedygarden

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30% is a pretty high percentage, but entirely believable, especially if you're anywhere near a ghetto. In Mobile, the gangs wait until dark, follow the delivery trucks and literally strip them of packages while the driver is delivering to someone's door!!
That 30% is what a delivery man told me after I told him about watching two vehicles circling while another delivery man was making deliveries. I was on foot, walking a very slow English bulldog, and had forgotten my phone that day or I would have taken several photos and made some videos. But I saw the deliveries being watched and knew he was being followed and I knew what was up.
 

Peanut

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I guess we're sort of lucky here. We've never had a package stolen. Out of curiosity I took my distance measuring wheel and measured.

Fedex and the post office leave packages on the steps of a small storage building by the shop behind the house, 348ft from the highway. Its the best place to turn around for people who come up the drive. A package can't be seen from the road.

The UPS truck turns around there but leaves packages in a chair on my porch, 268ft from the highway. A package can be seen from the road but...

This guy is roams free in the yard... deterrence! Edit to add... he loves the mail lady, fedex man and the ups guy, they are his buddies who come to visit occasionally. :)

J dog 05 A (1)_v1a.jpg
 
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ClemKadiddlehopper

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The local Home Hardware in the little town down the road accepts packages for anyone who isn't home, from lost delivery truck drivers, and farms with closed gates, dogs or whatever. It's the first place we all we all check if something doesn't show up and we don't suspect the dogs run off with their new toy.

One time, a delivery driver thought he was a funny guy and hung a package up in a tree with some baler twine left sitting out. We didn't notice that one for a while; we shot him last.
 

Peanut

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The last post reminded me when I was a kid. My grandparents lived on a county road. A couple miles out at the main highway was a country store. If needed everyone in the community would drop off mail that wasn’t theirs. If they were missing mail the store was the place to check.

See, the mailman was a notorious alcoholic, some days were worse than others. Everyone was happy if he just got mail in a box, especially when it was raining.

This continued until the mailman retired sometime in the early 80’s… Too funny! :D:D
 

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I was shocked when I was at my mom's apartment inside Mennonite Manor, and a FED X guy was delivering a prescription to her, and that means that they use the inside hallway. I signed for it, and the package was opened and folded over. I guess he ripped it open to see if it was something good, like pain pills. It was her thyroid meds. Called Walgreens and they reported the driver.
 

Weedygarden

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I was shocked when I was at my mom's apartment inside Mennonite Manor, and a FED X guy was delivering a prescription to her, and that means that they use the inside hallway. I signed for it, and the package was opened and folded over. I guess he ripped it open to see if it was something good, like pain pills. It was her thyroid meds. Called Walgreens and they reported the driver.
Stealing meds from senior citizens is something that happens too frequently. Hope he lost his job. He was probably a drug abuser of some sort, or someone who deals in them.
 

Weedygarden

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https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/national/florida-family-fights-back-against-porch-pirates-with-dirty-diapers?fbclid=IwAR1B8senwhs1pwqMIAf5pCOFjVgzO3jvTtRmiAqCSSClxTnV86K1Fu2MFEw

TAMPA, Fla. — A 9-month-old baby is teaching porch pirates a lesson.

It all started when the Saleep family says they noticed packages missing, including food and one of the baby's gifts.

"I wanted them to get like a taste of their own medicine," Sharly Saleep said.

So, the family took matters into their own hands.

First, they installed a surveillance camera to see if the packages were actually delivered.

Then, they put out a decoy package to see if porch pirates were at work. But what they say they put inside the decoy wasn't anything a package thief would want to find.

"It was kind of like a team effort. He sealed it up made it look less suspicious made it look like something you'd want to take, and she provided the diapers," Jacky Saleep said. "...it was really disgusting, but I figured you know if they take it, they deserve it,"

Jacky said they filled the package with three-day-old dirty diapers. In about two hours, they believe someone took the package from their porch. Surveillance video shows someone running to the front door and quickly running away. The family filed a report with Tampa police.

"Whoever these porch pirates were, they fell for it," Tampa Police Officer Sarah Michelson said.

While the holiday season is typically expected to see an increase in package thefts, Michelson said they're down across Tampa this year.

Police said there were 25 package thefts in November 2018, compared to 10 in November 2019.

"Residents are a lot more aware of what's going on, our officers are definitely out there and visible," Michelson said.

The Saleeps said they're more aware, too. Out of safety concerns, they've installed more surveillance cameras.

But in a twist, the family later found out that a delivery driver had simply dropped their missing packages off at the wrong address.

They plan to tell their daughter, Nora, about the prank when she's older.

"(We'll) tell her it's not right to take other people's things and just be careful because it might not be what you're expecting when you open it up," Jacky Saleep said.

They may not be done teaching this lesson just yet, though.

"We're gonna have an upgrade, like cat litter now," Sharly Saleep said.
 
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