When you hear the word “pirate,” you probably think of a band of ruffians in the olden days, taking over a ship on the high seas or hunting for buried treasure.
These days, there’s a new kind of pirate in town, and he’s after a different kind of treasure — the packages left on your porch.
What are porch pirates?
Porch pirates are thieves who target packages left on porches or front stoops. Sometimes they follow delivery drivers and snatch packages when the driver is out of sight. Other package thefts are simply crimes of opportunity where the thief sees a package sitting on the porch and pounces.
It’s a problem that affects many people, whether they live in apartments, townhouses, or single family homes.
Protecting your packages from porch pirates
Package theft spikes during the holidays, when the number of people who shop online increases. If you’re one of the millions of Americans who shop online during the holidays, there are many things you can do to increase the security around your home and protect your packages from theft.
Consider alternate delivery options
While delivery straight to your door is the most convenient, if you’re worried about porch pirates you may want to seek alternate arrangements, such as:
- Amazon locker box. If you order packages from Amazon, you can pick them up (or return them) at one of their locker locations. When your package arrives, you’ll receive a code that allows you to retrieve your package from the locker.
- Post Office box. With a post office box, packages are left directly in your box, and you can pick them up at your convenience. If the package is too big, it will be held behind the desk until you can pick it up. Most post offices have 24-hour lobbies for PO boxes; however, not all retailers will ship to a PO box.
- In-store pickup. Many retailers allow you to ship your purchases to their brick and mortar locations and then pick them up in-store.
Increase your front porch security
While picking up your packages from another location may be more secure, it adds to an already busy holiday season. Fortunately, there are smart home features that can help protect you from porch pirates. This protection starts with better front porch security.
See who's on your porch with a doorbell camera
You can keep an eye on your porch wherever you go with a doorbell camera.
This smart camera automatically begins recording when it senses motion on your porch, so you can see exactly who’s on your front porch via your smart home app. Not only that, but two-way talk allows you to speak to whoever is on your doorstep, potentially stopping porch pirates in their tracks.
Use smart locks to bring the package inside
Combine a doorbell camera with a smart lock for extra protection. If you see a delivery driver from the doorbell camera feed, you can unlock the smart lock on your front door via your smart home app, allowing your delivery driver to place your packages directly inside your home. You can also give the driver a temporary smart lock access code, then change it for added security once the package is delivered.
Smart garage controls keep your packages safe
If you're not comfortable unlocking your front door for the delivery, you can also use smart garage door controls to secure your package. With a garage door controller connected to your smart home, you can use your panel or smart home app to open your garage for the delivery driver to leave the package in your garage. Then close the garage once the driver has made the delivery.
Outdoor cameras add another level of protection
Install an outdoor camera near your garage, and you can keep an eye on the delivery driver from the moment he steps on your porch to the time he goes back to the truck. That's peace of mind and an extra level of protection for your packages and your home.
Porch pirates are a concern to anyone who shops online, but you don’t have to let them steal your holiday cheer. Smart home features like a doorbell camera, smart lock, and outdoor cameras will help keep your porch safe and secure and make sure the packages you order are available when you need them.
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1 "Porch Piracy: Changing The Way We Shop And Ship". 2016. Vivint. Accessed December 12, 2017. https://www.vivint.com/resources/article/porch-piracy.