Stop porch pirates with these simple steps

With millions of Cyber Monday purchases now on their way to homes, thieves are circling the block in pursuit of your packages.
Posted at 2:12 PM, Nov 27, 2023

Santa Claus may come down your chimney, but these days, thieves walk right up to your doorstep and steal your packages. Tens of thousands of delivered items now disappear every year in what has become the season for porch pirates.

But there are some simple ways to protect your deliveries.

Brandon Hagedorn tries to grab his packages as soon as they arrive nowadays because he's had several stolen over the years.

"A couple of years ago," he said, " we had a few back-to-back-to-back leading right into Christmas time."

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Nick Wolny, senior editor at the tech site CNET, says consumers are expected to ship a whopping $74 billion worth of packages this season. That’s an average of $287 per person, often left outside unattended for hours.

"The moment that delivery driver drops the package off on your doorstep," he said, "the seller's responsibility is done.”

Simple things you can do

So, how do you prevent someone from grabbing your packages before you get a chance?

"If you wanna mitigate porch theft," Wolny said, "you can cut out the porch part altogether."

Wolny suggests having your package delivered to:

- Your workplace

- A UPS or FedEx location

Or, an Amazon locker; there are now thousands nationwide, often outside convenience stores.

If you choose delivery to your home, use tracking technology to time the delivery. Then, ask your neighbor to bring the box inside, as Jerome Matthews does.

"Usually, I have them delivered at home and try to have someone watch out for it," he said.

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What to do if your delivery is stolen

But what if thieves do pick from your porch? You can request a refund or replacement.

"For some of the larger sellers, it is less time and effort and money on their part to just send you a replacement item," Wolny said.

If that's rejected, and it is a large item like an iPad or PS5, you can submit a claim to your home or renters insurance. That process will be easier if you have a doorbell camera.

"If you plan to be away from home, be sure to have that 24/7 footage recording," Wolny said.

That way you can submit the theft to the police and your insurance carrier.