An estimated $136 billion will be spent in e-commerce shopping this holiday season in the U.S. alone, according to Salesforce data, an increase by 13% from last year.
As the number of online orders rises, police departments from Massachusetts to California are warning of an uptick in package thieves.
The porch pirates appear to have become more brazen in recent months: An Oklahoma woman's doorbell camera caught a masked robber swiping her parcels, and a Minnesota porch pirate left a taunting "thank you" note after taking a package from a doorstep.
Here is a roundup of tips from local police departments to keep your packages safe:
Police department tips to thwart porch pirates
- Reach out to neighbors: Ask neighbors or family members to pick up your parcels as soon as possible after they are delivered.
- Track your packages and request a specific drop-off time when you will be at home: Most delivery services allow you to follow the delivery of your package and many also allow you to pick a delivery window for when you will be home. If possible, try to be at home at the time of your delivery.
- Require a signature for delivery: Requiring a signature for delivery means that packages can't be left at your front door where they are prime bait for porch thieves.
- Hold your mail if you are traveling: The U.S. Postal Service offers services to hold your mail if you are taking a trip over the holidays.
- Have your packages delivered to work or the home of someone who can accept them: If you know you aren't going to be home during the day, try having your orders delivered to your work or with a trusted friend, relative or neighbor.
- Keep your porch well-lit: A well-lit porch may help your neighbors better be able to keep an eye out for thieves.
- Opt for in-store pickup: Many retailers offer the option of in-store pickup and many e-commerce retailers have local "locker" options you can choose to have your packages delivered to.
- Mount a visible security camera: Doorbell cameras and other home security cameras can be a good way to deter package thieves. If you enable Wi-Fi on your camera you can also keep an eye on your porch from afar and notify police if you spot anything shady. Mounting them in visible places may also help deter potential thieves. Many police departments also have partnerships with Ring Doorbell to combat porch pirates.
Tips courtesy of Asheville Police Department in Asheville, North Carolina, Alexandria Police Department in Alexandria, Virginia, Tewksbury Police Department in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, and the Fremont Police Department in Fremont, California.