Tis the season! So the saying goes. That applies to both the innocent and the guilty. And as the theft of home delivered packages increases, so does the concern citizens have about this emerging criminal act.
Some estimates indicate that over 23 million of us have had delivered packages stolen from the front of our homes. Enough for the term "Porch Pirates" to recently hit the American lexicon.
So how does this happen? Very often, the offenders in this crime begin by following delivery trucks through neighborhoods in the middle of the day. Once a delivery is made, and if the house looks unoccupied, the criminal approaches the home and simply removes the package and drives on to the residence of their next victim.
This crime has become so prevalent in some cities that their police departments have established task force teams that leave decoy packages, containing a GPS tracker, on random porches in an attempt to catch these culprits.
Since a great measure of delivery companies' public image is based on reliable service, this specific crime has hit them hard both in the US and abroad. At least one name-brand delivery company has set up crime prevention training programs for their employees and established neighborhood pick-up points for deliveries. Packages that in the past were left on your doorstep can now be left at designated businesses in the neighborhood, such as convenience stores and hair salons. In addition, residents expecting deliveries can now contact their package delivery company and arrange alternate drop off locations on very short notice.
If this trend continues, the online sales industry may take an unprecedented hit in the future, as more and more residents become victim to these so called Porch Pirates.
Here are a few tips to help prevent becoming a victim of this crime:
- Enroll in a package delivery notification system with your delivery company so you know exactly when a package is scheduled for delivery and exactly when the package is dropped off at your door.
- Don't leave packages unattended outside your door.
- Arrange with your delivery company to leave your package with a neighbor who can physically accept delivery.
- Contact your delivery company and see what delivery options they have available in your area.
Crime prevention is the responsibility of all citizens. Unfortunately, once a neighborhood gets a reputation as an easy target for theft, it is much harder to eliminate the problem. Stay vigilant and don't let the bad guys win!