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Porch Pirates: The Rise of Package Theft

Nov 09, 2023|

Thanks to online shopping, we can have almost anything we want delivered to our doorstep within a matter of days, if not hours.

This year, Amazon has already delivered 1.8 billion items to U.S. Prime members, which is about four times more than what they achieved by this point in 2019.

But the increase in home deliveries, while incredibly impressive, has given rise to a unique challenge—porch piracy.

Did you know that almost 50% of all Americans have had a package stolen from their porch or know someone who has?

Although these statistics are worrisome, the good news is that there are things you can do to prevent porch pirates from making off with your valuable packages.

Let’s find out more.

Packages on a front porch protected by the Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro.

What are porch pirates?

Porch pirates are thieves who steal delivered packages, typically left on porches and front steps, from other people's homes.

Some package theft incidents are crimes of opportunity that occur when someone passes by a house with an unattended box on the front porch.

However, most of the time, it is a planned crime. Many porch pirates operate by scouting neighborhoods with a high volume of package deliveries, monitoring delivery schedules, and making quick strikes when the time is right.

Often, they strike during the daytime when homeowners are likely to be at work or away, but some may also operate at night.

Let’s be neighbors.

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The rise of package theft across the country

75% of Americans are concerned about porch piracy, and it’s not without reason.

Nearly one out of two people have had a package stolen or know someone who has, making porch piracy an everyday headache for homeowners.

Porch pirates can strike any area or neighborhood. However, some states seem to be affected by porch pirates more than others.

New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Delaware, Iowa, Colorado, Kansas, and Washington are among the worst states for porch pirates.

Moreover, 34% of porch piracy takes place in cities, likely due to the higher density of homes and package deliveries.

Statistics on porch piracy

Interested to know more? Here is some more background on porch piracy in the United States:

  • Porch pirates stole 260 million packages last year, an estimated value of $19.5 billion.
  • Porch pirates are both men and women, but 94% of porch pirates are 45 and younger.
  • Eight states have made package theft a felony: Texas, Michigan, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, New Jersey, and Kentucky.
  • Porch piracy incidents increase as the number of people who shop online increases, such as during the holiday season.
  • The average package theft is valued between $50 and $100.
  • Clothing, books, and games are among the most common stolen items.
  • Two out of three Americans have changed their behavior because of porch piracy, such as adjusting schedules to be home for a delivery or changing the way they receive the package. However, 87% of them haven’t yet installed a surveillance system.
Homeowner grabbing packages from their front porch after their Doorbell Camera Pro notified them of the delivery.

The impact of package theft on individuals and communities

If you're like most people, online shopping and home delivery have changed the way you shop. With just a few clicks, your favorite items show up at your doorstep.

But, with the convenience of online shopping comes the issue of package theft—a type of crime that has become a growing concern for individuals, communities, and delivery companies.

Homeowners are not only burdened with the financial cost of stolen packages but also the emotional distress of their privacy being invaded.

And it's not just the victims who suffer. Entire communities feel the ripple effects of porch piracy. Package theft can erode the sense of safety and trust among neighbors and strain the social connection of the community as a whole.

The impact of package theft extends to online retailers as well. While they are not directly responsible for the theft itself, they often bear the financial consequences of stolen packages. The cost of replacing lost or stolen items, as well as dealing with customer complaints and returns, can add up significantly for these retailers.

How porch pirates operate

As shoppers turn to online shopping for availability and convenience, porch pirates have their eyes peeled for new opportunities to strike.

Porch pirates use different tactics to carry out their illegal missions. Here are some of the most common methods they use:

  • Disguised as delivery personnel. Some porch pirates dress as delivery drivers, complete with uniforms and fake logos. This deceptive approach enables them to approach doorsteps with ease and make off with packages without raising suspicion.
  • Follow delivery trucks. Porch pirates often follow delivery trucks, waiting for the opportunity to strike once a package has been left unattended.
  • Lookout partners. In some cases, porch pirates work in pairs or groups. While one person poses as a lookout, the others steal packages. This allows them to keep an eye on the surroundings and alert the rest to any potential witnesses.
  • Targeted scouting. Porch pirates often scout neighborhoods to identify homes that are unattended during the day or ones without surveillance cameras. Often, these homes are easy targets.
  • Online tracking. Some thieves monitor social media activity or online tracking information to identify package deliveries. They use this information to time their attacks.
  • Stolen information. In some cases, porch pirates steal mail or personal information, which might let them redirect homeowners’ packages to a different address for easier access.


Porch piracy has become a growing concern as more people turn to online shopping.

Residents in the Fort Bend County community are fed up with the recurring issue of package thieves who are often disguised as delivery drivers. “I felt personally attacked,” one homeowner said. “It is my hard-earned money that I used to purchase these items.”

Meanwhile, others take a more humorous approach. Former NASA engineer Mark Rober created a viral YouTube video where he engineered a glitter bomb trap to catch package thieves red-handed. This video quickly went viral, gathering millions of views and widespread media coverage.

Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro.

How to combat porch piracy

Prevention is the best strategy when it comes to safeguarding your packages from porch pirates.

Here are a few easy ways you can outsmart porch pirates:

  • Always get tracking information. Tracking provides a clear picture of where your package is in the delivery process and helps you know when to expect it, reducing the chance of leaving packages unattended for too long. Most delivery services, such as the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx, allow you to sign up for notifications.
  • Get an Amazon locker box. Selecting an Amazon Locker Box as your delivery address can give you much-needed peace of mind because you know your packages are securely stored until you retrieve them.
  • Have your packages delivered to your workplace. Having packages delivered to your office is another smart solution. It guarantees that your packages are received during business hours, reducing the risk of theft.
  • Ask your neighbor to keep an eye out. If you won't be available at home when a package is due to arrive, consider reaching out to a trusted neighbor and see if it's possible to have the package sent to their address instead.
  • Require a signature. When placing orders, choose to require a signature for package delivery. This adds an extra layer of security and ensures that a responsible person signs for the package upon delivery.
  • Get a Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro. The Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro is equipped with advanced functionality and smart integrations to enhance front porch security and deter package thieves. It provides real-time video monitoring, motion-activated alerts, and two-way communication, allowing you to see and interact with delivery people.

How Vivint can help protect your packages

Since the e-commerce explosion after the pandemic, porch piracy has become a growing concern in America. The good news is that there are effective ways to combat the issue.

Package tracking, delivery notifications, and alternate delivery addresses are some things you can do to minimize the chances of your packages being stolen.

On top of that, securing your front door with a security camera is another effective method for safeguarding your deliveries and deterring potential thieves.

Check out Vivint’s home security systems and video doorbells. They’re equipped with advanced functionality and features, which makes them stand out from any other surveillance systems on the market.

Contact our Smart Home Pros at 855.822.1220 for a free consultation today.

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