You spent hours online researching your purchase and then waited several days to receive your package, but despite a delivery notification, it's nowhere to be found. Meet the porch pirates — modern-day buccaneers whose targets include unattended packages. Bold and brazen, some porch pirates follow delivery vehicles and steal packages almost as soon as they're left at houses without porch protection systems.
In New York City alone, more than 90,000 packages mysteriously disappeared per day in 2019. Shockingly, more than 1.7 million deliveries go astray every single day across the nation. So, what can we do about it? Learn how to protect your packages from urban privateers — and how to help catch marauders if they do turn up.
Motion-activated and easy to install, video doorbells can offer a DIY measure to prevent porch theft. They alert you when deliveries are made, so you can pick up your packages right away. Freebooters who attempt to take parcels before you get there trigger alerts on your phone or computer.
Many video doorbells have a two-way speaker, so you can shout "Boo!" at package snatchers and watch them run away if you check your notification in time. Some video doorbells also stream data and save video clips in the cloud, making thieves easier to identify if they do get away with packages.
Security cameras can make porch thieves — and other would-be villains — very nervous. They want to continue their nefarious lifestyles, and to do that, they can't get caught. For this reason, they're less likely to steal packages from houses with home security systems in place.
To help create an effective porch protection system, you can mount your camera in an obvious place and make sure it captures a clear view of your doorstep. Cameras with night vision provide extra protection if you often get home late. Opt for a good-quality system with high-resolution video so that you capture clear images of people who do steal packages from your porch.
Successful thieves have a pretty slim window to swoop in and swipe parcels. You can reduce this period of time by tracking deliveries online. Some delivery companies have apps that let you track drivers in real time, so you'll know the moment they leave your package.
If you can't be at home, you can ask a trusted neighbor to pick up your package for you and then collect it from them later in the day. If you don't know your neighbors well enough or live in a rural area, consider installing a lockbox on your porch or pay for a package-receiving service.
If you're expecting something really expensive and you can't be there to receive your purchase in person, you can ask the delivery company to hold your package at its depot. If you live in a city with Amazon Locker facilities, you can redirect your parcel and pick it up on the way home. Just use Amazon's online zip code locator to find your nearest locker and switch your delivery address.
While they won't prevent all package thefts, security cameras and video doorbells can help deter many would-be thieves.
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