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It’s time now to plot against porch pirates

Tuesday, October 10, 2017by  Jon Osterberg

Porch pirates steal packages ordered online and left at doorstepOnline shoppers, it's not too early to take steps now to deter porch pirates from stealing your holiday gift deliveries.

Doorstep theft has jumped dramatically in recent years. Thieves stalk delivery trucks and snatch packages off porches in broad daylight, doing it so quickly that no one's the wiser until the online shopper wonders, "Where's my delivery?"

You can beat the scoundrels by bolting a lockbox on your front porch. Three models from Landport can do the trick, and they come in five colors. But they will cost you $500 to $800, depending on which size you want.

Package Guard, a Seattle product, earned national headlines last year. It's a Frisbee-size disc marked with the words "place package here." Simply leave it on your front porch for deliveries. It connects to wifi and notifies you when a package arrives, and if someone other than you lifts the package, a piercing alarm sounds.

Package ordered online, left at front porchOther gizmos, or even Amazon Locker, also can deter theft. But police advise that basic precautions can foil porch pirates, too:

  • If your employer permits it, use your work address rather than your home address for deliveries. That works if your business hours match normal delivery times.

  • Instruct shippers to deliver packages to a specific location hidden from plain sight. For example, "inside the carport" or "behind the rhododendron." Somewhere other than the front porch.

  • Do you have a trusted neighbor who's home during delivery hours? Ship your packages there.

  • Insist on getting a signature before packages can be left. Just realize that if you're not there to sign, you'll need to reschedule delivery.

Personally, security cameras wouldn't give me much peace of mind. Unless I was home to witness and stop the thief, I suspect most porch pirates would be long gone before I could alert authorities to arrive.

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