ROCHESTER, Minn. — "Porch pirates" — those thieves who take packages delivered to doorsteps — likely met their match with the invention of video doorbells, but traffic on social networking apps such as NextDoor make clear that today's modern day Grinches aren't completely extinct.
So far, Rochester has not seen an increase in package thefts this holiday season from the previous year, said Amanda Grayson, Rochester Police Department's crime prevention and communications communicator.
Likely the prospect of being caught on video and having your picture spread all over the evening news operates as a deterrent for thieves. But online shoppers still have reason to be vigilant, experts say.
This holiday season, some 3 billion — yes, billion — packages will be shipped to homes, apartments and businesses, about 800 million more than delivered last year. With many people skittish about shopping in-person during a pandemic, there is even greater reliance on the nation's shipping infrastructure.
And, according to CNBC, about 1.7 million packages are stolen or lost every day in the U.S.
Here are seven tips, from Rochester police and security experts, for foiling porch pirates:
- Take away the temptation: Be cognizant of when deliveries arrive and bring the package inside right away.
- Track your package: Delivery tracking apps take the guessing game out of package delivery.
- Outdoor security cameras: This is for maximum theft deterrence. There is nothing like outdoor security cameras clearly pointed at the package drop-off area to keep porch pirates away.
- Have the package delivered somewhere else: Have your package delivered at work or at the home of a relative or friend that you know will be home.
- Video doorbells: Their lack of visibility make them less of a deterrent, but their easy installation, motion activation and doorbell vantage point that make it more likely to catch a thief's identify give them certain advantages.
- Package lockboxes: Installed near your mailbox, lockboxes diminish the potential for thievery by concealing the delivery.
- Home security window and yard signs: Signs that state your home has a security system with a camera tell porch pirates that they are persona non grata. They usually take the hint.