More packages, more problems? 'Porch pirates' have 1.6 billion reasons to target holiday deliveries | St. Louis Public Radio

More packages, more problems? 'Porch pirates' have 1.6 billion reasons to target holiday deliveries

Dec 22, 2017

They watch homes in your neighborhood, looking for packages left on stoops and doorsteps. Before you know it, porch pirates swoop in and swipe your holiday deliveries.

The social network for neighbors, Nextdoor.com, says it sees a 500 percent increase in posts about missing packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Illinois-based Shorr Packaging Corp. asked 1,000 people if they’d ever been porch pirate victims and 31 percent said yes. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department confirmed that package theft reports have increased steadily since October.

Nearly one in five U.S. homeowners has been a victim of package theft in the last year, according to a recent survey by Ring, a home security firm.

The holiday season is an especially rife time for porch pirates. By most estimates, there will be 1.6 billion holiday packages delivered between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. UPS expects package volume to be up 5 percent compared to last year. FedEx expects its volume to increase by 9 percent.

Although no one can confirm that the rate of package theft from private residences is increasing, shipping companies are taking notice of customers’ concerns.

“We work very closely with our customers to deliver their packages and then make some technology, some options, some alternate delivery locations so they can receive their packages how and when they want them,” said Matthew O’Connor, UPS spokesman. “But with more packages, there’s more opportunity, I guess you could say.”

UPS is partnering with local businesses to serve as access points; places that can hold your delivery for pickup.

“These are delis and dry cleaners and UPS stores and florists that have evening and weekend hours,” said O’Connor. “And these are companies that we work with every day to pick up and receive packages on behalf of consumers.”

Four ways to fight porch piracy from Nextdoor.com

  1. Upgrade to concierge shipping services. Services such as Shyp and UPS My Choice provide options for advanced package tracking, allowing you to redirect a package, receive detailed updates on estimated delivery time, and send an email or text once your package has been delivered.
  2. Alternate your shipping address. If you don’t feel secure with your packages on your doorstep, try routing packages to your work address, leaving it at a nearby post office or consider leaving it with a neighbor or friend.
  3. Track your shipment. The U.S. Postal Service has a real-time tracker that allows you to keep an eye on your package every step of the way. You can even receive text alerts updating you on the status of your delivery.
  4. Don’t leave packages out overnight. Once you learn your package has been delivered, make sure to bring it inside right away. Or, ask a neighbor to hold it until you get home.

MORE: What to do if your USPS package is stolen

Follow Holly on Twitter @HollyEdgell