Dissuading Porch Pirates

With gift-giving season at hand, it’s a great time to evaluate your home package delivery setup. Porch pirates – thieves who watch for and take packages left outdoors by couriers – are most active around the holiday season.
Stolen packages are both a financial loss and a hassle to deal with, but there are steps you can take to outsmart porch pirates.


  • Some details can be managed at the time of purchase or through the courier’s website. You can sign up for delivery alerts, require a signature for delivery, hold at the terminal, and leave specific delivery instructions for the driver.

At Home:

  • There are a few things you can do to dissuade would-be thieves right on your front porch. To keep packages out of site, add some larger decorations to the porch that can camouflage a box or install a storm door, providing a hidden place for small packages between the doors. You could even build or buy a locking box specifically for deliveries or designate a space behind a bush. Adding security works two-fold, both to deter a potential thief and to catch a successful one. If you can add an outdoor video camera or a doorbell camera, sometimes seeing it is enough to convince a thief that this house just isn’t worth the risk. Some systems can be set up with motion detection, automatic lights, microphones, and alerts sent directly to your cell phone. In the event a brave porch pirate takes your packages anyway, the video recording of them can help police identify the thief and make a case against them.

Avoid the Porch:

  • If you can’t be home to gather your packages immediately after delivery, you may want to consider having them delivered someplace else. Some websites offer a ship-to-store option, have Amazon lockers, or serve as delivery points for popular small-package delivery services. If it’s an option at your workplace, or with a neighbor who will be home, have your packages shipped there where there will be someone to receive the packages throughout the day. If you’re planning to receive a lot of packages, it may be worth the small fee to rent a delivery box at the nearest UPS, FedEx, or similar store for the season.

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