Porch pirates in a modern shopping environment
December 22, 2019. Pirates of the Caribbean, pirates of the China Sea, porch pirates… Porch pirates? Yes, those people who steal delivered packages from a front porch are called porch pirates. With the increasing use of online shopping, the work of these porch pirates is an increasingly more serious problem in Canada and the United States.
Extent of losses due to porch pirates in Canada and the U.S.
- 1 in 4 Canadians reported being hit by porch pirates, in a recent survey of 1500 people.
- 1 in 5 Americans surveyed in 2017 lost an average of 2.6 packages at an average cost of $140 per package. The total loss amounts to 58.7 million packages with the approximate value of $8.2 billion.
Peak piracy seasons
- December with Christmas and other holiday celebrations is the peak time for porch piracy.
- March with the return of spring and the coming summer season is the second most vulnerable time to package pilfering.
Options to help fight porch piracy
- Schedule deliveries when someone is home
- Make arrangements for delivery to a neighbour
- Have delivery made to the workplace
- Require a signature upon delivery
- Make delivery to a local postal outlet
- Request plain packaging from retailer
- Place home security system signs in windows or on the lawn
- Take advantage, when possible, of having the delivery company deliver the package to the closest outlet of the big box vendor
Technology to help combat porch piracy
- Install a video camera to record evidence of any theft and supply clues as to the identity of the pirate.
- Acquire one of the growing variety of secure storage boxes for deliveries. One appliance company is developing a smart box for parcels that can be bolted to the porch surface; contains a video camera; and has a motion sensor connected to a car alarm so any movement or jostling of the container will alert anyone in the area.
There are ways to increase the safety of deliveries left on a porch, but if a porch pirate strikes, there are still things to do that can help increase peace of mind, aid in the awareness of the crime and increase the possibility of the pirate’s capture.
Steps to take if you become a victim of a porch pirate
- Report the piracy to the police and supply any physical or video evidence that may help in the pursuit of the thief
- Report the theft to the seller/retailer, as there may be some help provided for replacement of the shipment or a refund.
- Report the incident to your credit card company and check to see if there is purchase insurance connected to the card if it was used for the purchase.
- Report the theft to the deliverer: postal service, courier company, etc.
- Make an insurance claim, if the value of the loss is greater than the deductible.
The increased awareness of porch pirates and how they can be stopped or brought to justice helps us all and makes our world a little more secure.