How to Outsmart Porch Pirates and Secure Your Packages

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As temperatures rise, more people are spending time outside — including porch pirates. 

Instead of plundering the high seas, porch pirates steal packages from in front of people’s homes (whether or not there’s a porch). Incidents of package theft skyrocketed in the first year of the pandemic and remain fairly high — thieves stole about $8 billion worth of goods from outside homes in 2023, according to Security.org. Recently, some porch pirates have been posing as Amazon workers, and others have been bold enough to steal packages with the delivery van still present.  

Though it’s a major bummer to have your favorite packages stolen, you can reduce the risk of package theft dramatically by taking a few precautions. Learn how to stop porch pirates from ganking your loot, and make sure you receive everything you order.

For more, check out our picks for the best home security cameras and learn the best places to put security cameras around your home.

Make sure to track your packages

Knowing the exact location of your package in its journey to your home will reduce the amount of time it sits in front of your house, giving porch pirates less opportunity to steal it. All the major delivery services and the US Postal Service allow package tracking. 

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Reducing the time between delivery of your package and your retrieval of it is an easy, no-cost way to avoid porch piracy, especially if you’re usually home. If you aren’t going to be home when a package arrives, you have a couple of other free ways to prevent theft.

Ask your neighbors for help

Making friends with your neighbors is a great way to build community, but it also can bestow personal benefits, including potential prevention of package theft. If you aren’t going to be home when a package is expected to be delivered, contact a neighbor friend and let them grab it for you.

If you have a neighbor who’s always home and you aren’t, you could even have your packages delivered to their address instead and pick them up when you get home.

Get your packages delivered to your work address

Another option for protecting your packages from getting stolen is to have them delivered to your office or work address, especially if you never work from home. Many offices have full-time receptionists or shipping departments that will gladly hold personal packages for you.

Talk to your boss or HR department before making the switch, however. Some companies have explicit policies about not accepting personal deliveries.

Install a video doorbell camera to add another layer of security

a Blink video doorbell positioned outside of a house

Video doorbells add a layer of protection against porch pirates.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Video doorbells can be a deterrent to package theft, and not only because the video might scare away criminals. Doorbell cameras from companies like Ring, Wyze and Blink will not only record activity but also alert you to any motion on your porch and let you communicate with anyone who’s out there, whether you’re home or not.

Read more: Best Video Doorbell Cameras

If your video doorbell lets you know that someone is delivering a package, you can chat with them to tell them where to stash your package so it won’t get stolen.

Amazon Key allows packages to be delivered inside your garage

If you’re an Amazon Prime member with a smart garage door, you can get your packages delivered inside your garage for free using Amazon Key In-Garage Delivery. Simply link your garage door to Amazon Key using the app for your smart garage, and when you make a purchase, select Free Key Delivery.

Read more: Best Outdoor Home Security Cameras

When the Amazon driver arrives at your house, they’ll scan your package to open your garage door — you don’t need to do anything. If you’re uncomfortable with a stranger accessing your garage, you can also add a video camera to watch the delivery. Real-time alerts will tell you exactly where your package is at all times.

Amazon Lockers are another great option

an Amazon Locker outside of a store

Amazon Lockers offer the convenience of picking up your package on your own schedule.

Amazon

If you really want to shut down porch pirates for Amazon packages, use a secure Amazon Locker if there’s one close enough to your home. Amazon Locker lets you send packages to a lockbox in an external and secure location. You can pick up packages whenever you like, within three days after the arrival of a package.

Amazon Locker is free for all Prime members. Other Amazon members will need to pay standard shipping rates. Some Amazon Lockers are open 24 hours, but every Amazon Locker has unique hours. Check the Amazon site to see exactly when they’re open.

To help you find an Amazon Locker near you, Amazon offers a search tool that shows available locations. A third-party tool called LockerMap shows a graphic display of all the Amazon Lockers in the US, but be aware that it isn’t an official app and confirm locker info on the Amazon site.

Getting ripped off by porch pirates can be a frustrating experience, but with a little preparation and care, you can stop those thieves from stealing your wonderful new stuff.




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