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Porch Pirate Trap: How To Prevent Package Thefts

Chris Wilson - Writer for Top10.com
A woman holding a stack of packages and going up her porch.
Ever arrived home to find your expected package missing? Here's how to make sure it never happens again.

With most people opting for online shopping these days, porch pirate incidents are on the rise, too. In 2023, 49 million people in the US had packages stolen from their front door.

I've been a home security expert for over 20 years. Let me explain how to turn the tables on porch pirates and keep your deliveries safe. With a solid system, you can secure your front porch and protect your property against theft.

» Want to keep an eye on your deliveries? Try our best outdoor and indoor security cameras.

How to Prevent Porch Piracy

Prevent package theft and ensure the items you order online arrive safely at your home by:

Using Smart Home Technology

You can control devices like smart locks from anywhere to let delivery people securely leave packages inside your home. You can also use apps to track packages with delivery services and make sure you receive your items safely and on time.

Plus, smart home technology helps neighbors watch out for each other's parcels by allowing them to share footage and alerts. This cooperation helps create a safer community and lowers theft risks.

Installing Security Cameras

Security cameras from a firm like Cove can make it seem like someone is always watching the property, even if no one is home. This constant surveillance can discourage pirates from grabbing your parcels. In fact, according to the UNC Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology, 46% of burglars admit they'd avoid a house if they saw cameras.

You can also install a video doorbell with motion detection like the ones from ADT to deter thieves. These systems start recording and sending alerts when someone is near your door. Or use Vivint's doorbell camera, which turns on an LED ring and sounds a 65 dB speaker when it detects someone suspicious.

If a theft does occur, the cameras can help identify the thief. You can show the footage to the police, and they can even use it as evidence in court.

Setting Porch Pirate Traps

You can also effectively deter thefts and prevent pirates from stealing your delivered packages by using common traps like:

  • Glitter bombs: These are simple, inexpensive, and effective at surprising porch pirates. When someone opens your package, it releases glitter and makes it difficult for the thief to get away without leaving a trail of evidence.
  • Stink bombs: Think about placing a non-harmful odor-emitting device inside your packages, which makes it unpleasant for pirates to keep your stolen package. It's a subtle way to deter thieves and protect your deliveries.
  • Decoy packages: You can fill empty boxes with rocks, sand, or other non-valuable items to lure crooks and then capture footage of them on your security cameras.
  • Glue-on-the-package: If you want to annoy pirates without causing them harm, you can add adhesive to your packages. This could discourage them from tampering with or stealing your parcels.

These traps are legal since they're non-violent and don't harm people. Glitter bombs have become quite the trend, especially after YouTuber Mark Rober used them to deter and surprise porch pirates.

An Apple AirTag offers another method to prevent package theft. It helps you locate and keep track of your belongings using the Find My app. With this technology, you can create a trackable decoy package to lure and identify crooks.

Tips to Keep Your Parcels Safe

To enhance the security of your deliveries and reduce the risk of package theft, consider the following preventive measures:

  • Use a locking delivery box or smart mailbox to secure your deliveries, accessible only to you or someone with the code.
  • Request signature confirmation for your deliveries to ensure your packages are handed directly to you. This may come at a small cost.
  • Opt for Amazon Lockers so you can pick up your items from a secure location, reducing the risk of theft.
  • Stay informed of local package thefts by signing up for neighborhood alerts from services like Neighbors and Nextdoor.

Why Should You Install a Home Security System?

Installing a home security system can make you feel safer since visible cameras, alarms, and signs signal that your property is protected and under surveillance. Around 83% of incarcerated male and female burglars say they'd look for an alarm before trying to break in, and 60% would choose a different target if an alarm system was in place.

Modern security systems from companies like Scout Alarm and Link Interactive also come with remote monitoring capabilities, which means they can connect to your smartphone through an app. This allows you to view live camera feeds, receive notifications, and manage system settings from anywhere, as long as you have internet access.

If the system detects unusual activity, like unexpected motion or door openings, it sends an alert to your phone so you can respond quickly, even when you're not at home. This real-time information can help prevent theft or minimize damage by allowing you to notify authorities immediately if you see suspicious behavior.

» Learn how to choose the best home security system.

Safeguard Your Deliveries With Home Security

There are many ways to stop porch pirates. Simple steps like setting up deterrents, using security cameras and smart locks, tracking your packages, and joining neighborhood watch groups can help protect your deliveries. Also, by choosing the right security system, you can guard your parcels and keep thieves away from your home.

» Is your delivery missing? Here are steps to take if your package is stolen.

Chris Wilson - Writer for Top10.com
Chris Wilson contributes to Top10.com as a CSPM with over 23 years of experience in the North American security market. His expertise includes system design, project management, and solutions engineering. Chris has written for SDM and Locksmith Ledger and co-published various blogs within the security industry.