Preventing Porch Pirates – Intro

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Online shopping has been a godsend for people with busy schedules. With just a few taps on their smartphones, parents can buy gifts or essential items while waiting to pick up their kids from school. Teachers can purchase supplies during lunch without leaving school — and have these items delivered the next day. With this convenience comes a problem, however, and it’s one that costs millions of dollars every year. With thousands of packages being left on front porches and doorsteps on a regular basis, thieves are taking advantage of the situation and swiping packages right off the property. Known as “porch pirates,” these opportunistic looters don’t care that they don’t even know what they are stealing. For them, there’s often so little risk involved that it’s worth the gamble.

Who These Porch Pirates Are and How They Operate

A porch pirate is a thief who nabs packages right from people’s front porches. This type of crime is on the rise due to the huge increase in the number of goods delivered during the day. There typically is no one home when these items are dropped off, which gives crooks plenty of reason to be so bold. They sometimes do their homework beforehand, watching the block to see which homes are most likely to be empty during the day. An estimated 23 million Americans report being victimized this way each year.

Although porch pirates hope to get expensive items, such as electronics or jewelry, this crime is so low-risk that the perpetrators don’t mind if they end up with underwear or coffee filters once in a while. This means that no matter how big or small the item, any direct delivery to a home is a potential theft waiting to happen.

How Can You Prevent Porch Piracy?

If you’re worried about falling prey to these plunderers of the digital age, there are a number of steps you can take. One of the simplest is to avoid having anything delivered when you’re not home. This could mean requiring a signature for all deliveries or having them sent to your workplace if feasible. You also can time your purchases so they will arrive when you’re sure someone is home to receive them. Many retailers, such as Amazon, offer delivery to storage lockers in public places. These allow you to pick up packages using a code provided to you. A drawback is that although these steps reduce the risk of theft, they eliminate many of the conveniences that make online shopping so appealing in the first place.

Another method for derailing porch pirates is to add security measures around your home. For example, doorbell cameras can notify you via your phone if they detect someone lurking around your front door. This may even give you the chance to let the intruder know you’re watching. Motion-activated lights can be a powerful deterrent as well, because most criminals prefer to work when they believe no one is watching.

Don’t let the presence of porch pirates take the convenience out of your Internet shopping. For a summary of this information, see the accompanying infographic.

Author bio: Jerry McSorley is the owner of Eye Trax, the leading provider of solar-powered wireless outdoor security cameras. After working many years within the construction industry, McSorley needed a way to monitor and secure his multiple construction sites. Combining his mechanical engineering degree from Rochester Institute of Technology and extensive business owner experience, he invented an innovative surveillance camera system. 


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