Porch Pirates: How To Keep Thieves From Stealing Your Holiday Packages

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‘Tis the season for giving and ordering holiday presents online, but ’tis also the season for increased porch pirate activity — experts are now warning consumers to be extremely cautious. In 2021, a staggering 210 million packages were stolen from porches around the country, according to a SafeWise study.

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The study also found that 64% of Americans polled have been a victim of porch theft, and more than half of these packages were valued between $50 and $200.

But not to despair, there are several steps you can take to avoid being a victim and enjoy the holidays stress-free.

Don’t Leave Packages Unattended, Ask for Hub or Post Office Delivery

The United States Postal Service (USPS) suggested never leaving your packages unattended. In addition, USPS expressed that if you plan on going out of town, have your mail held at your local post office.

You may request the hold for pickup option, which enables you to retrieve your packages at your local post office. You can also use this option to redirect packages you’re expecting.  

Further, USPS recommended customizing the delivery.

“If you know the package will not fit in your mailbox and you won’t be home to receive it, you can authorize the carrier to leave it in a specified location. Visit usps.com, enter the tracking number in Track a Package, and select Delivery Instructions,” the USPS blog detailed.

You can also secure the package by using USPS Special Services: for example, opting for the signature confirmation.

Home Security Camera System (Ring, etc.) Can Help Capture Footage of Porch Pirates

Finally, USPS suggested that if you have a home security camera system, “ensure it captures activity at your front door and mailbox.”

“If you catch any mail thieves in the act, save the video and alert your local Postal Inspectors. Video surveillance goes a long way in preventing crimes and catching bad guys,” the USPS blog laid out.

AARP offered additional tips, including being a good neighbor, using Nextdoor.com, Crime Stoppers and social media posts from law enforcement to be on the lookout.

In addition, AARP recommended picking up your package somewhere else — an option that is offered by Amazon for example.

“Amazon uses Hub Counter and self-service Hub Lockers for package pickup at retail locations, including some grocers and convenience stores,” according to AARP.

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FedEx Delivery Manager also enables customers to redirect delivery to a nearby FedEx office, Walgreens store or other location, while UPS Access Point Network has more than 19,000 pickup locations, including the UPS Store, CVS and Michaels stores, per the AARP.

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