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How to Stop Porch Pirates: 5 Package Theft Solutions

Forget treasure chests and ships. Porch pirates are 2023’s most diligent thieves, lurking around neighborhoods in search of packages left outside your door.

In this post, find out what porch piracy is, how many packages are stolen each day, plus our top package theft solutions to stop your home from becoming a target.

What Is a Porch Pirate?

Whether it’s your favorite takeaway or expensive new clothes, anything is ripe for the taking, so long as it’s been left in plain sight outside.

5 Ways to Stop a Porch Thief

Here are our top five package theft solutions.

1. Install security cameras

In fact, some are completely free. 

‘Used the app for ages so when they released camera I preordered it straight away. Definitely worth the upgrade and it’s a great price. Had someone try to break in my apartment. Was able to scare them away using the microphone feature.’

One AlfredCamera User
Credit: CBS Mornings

2. Require a signature

Most retailers provide the option to require a signature upon delivery. This includes major logistics companies like UPS, DHL, and FedEx. 

Choose to require a signature and delivery drivers will not leave the package on the doorstep unless someone signs for it, effectively fending off package pirates.

3. Leave with a neighbor

Although signatures are a handy way to avoid porch pirates, for those who are regularly out of the house, it can be inconvenient to have packages bounce back when left unsigned.

Instead, choose to leave the package with a neighbor you trust. Just make sure to get their permission beforehand to appease any grumpy neighbors!

4. Use a public locker

Many major online retailers, including Amazon, offer delivery lockers located at public sites and stores that can be used as an alternate address.

Use the zip code locator to find one near you, and you can both pick up and return packages at one of these convenient, secure hubs.

5. Set up motion detecting lights

These have been around for a while, meaning they are by now an affordable way to keep your packages (and home) more secure.

Credit: Ryder Calm Down

3 Places to Avoid Leaving Packages to Stop Porch Pirates

Figuring out how to stop porch pirates is tough because they are well-acquainted with the regular hiding spots.

To prevent porch pirates, don’t ask your delivery driver to leave packages in the following  places:

1. Outdoor trash cans

Mail carriers and logistics companies provide the option to hide packages in outdoor trash cans. This is a bad idea for many reasons.

Firstly, it’s one of the top places porch pirates look. Secondly, it’s unhygienic. Thirdly, it can be taken away if it’s left inside on a collection day or forgotten about.

2. Under plant pots

Upturned plant pots and other objects you might find around a porch are among the common places people advise their delivery drivers to leave purchases.

Unfortunately, a terracotta pot on its head is not a secure way to store something, and may even draw attention to itself.

3. Inside mailboxes

Simply put, valuable packages are better off being sent to public lockers or left with trusted neighbors than for them to sit in an unattended mailbox all day.

Credit: Impossible Science

How Many Packages are Stolen Each Day?

The modern luxury of overnight shipping and instant food deliveries comes hand-in-hand with the increasing nuisance of porch pirates.

In a way, the porch pirate phenomenon mirrors our contemporary habits and expectations as consumers. 

It draws attention to the new issues posed by increased spending, faster shipping, and work schedules that keep us out of the house all day.


Do porch pirates ever get caught?

Around 10% of reported porch pirates are brought to justice. This doesn’t mean that 10% of all 260 million stolen packages have their culprit caught. It merely means that 10% of the crimes that are actually reported are caught.

How do porch pirates get caught?

Porch pirates usually get caught by home security cameras set up outside properties. When homeowners report the theft to the local police and send the footage, this aids the police in building a case against the porch pirates.

How many porch pirates are caught?

Porch pirates are generally hard to catch. Few porch pirates are caught each year, meaning many get away with the crimes.

How are packages stolen?

Porch pirates steal packages by walking up to where the package was left and taking it. Some of these crimes are impulse crimes, where a person will spot the package and take it on a whim.

However, other porch pirates run a strategic operation to steal packages left at people’s front doors. Generally, they will follow a delivery driver undetected and pick up any parcels left unclaimed at front doors.

How do you stop porch pirates?

There are a number of precautions homeowners can take to deter porch pirates, including:

All these methods are useful as they give the impression that someone is at home, even if they are not, and that the property is under surveillance. 

Other ways to prevent porch pirates include having packages delivered to a locker or a neighbor when you won’t be at home.

What should you do if you see someone stealing a package?

Where did the term porch pirate come from?

‘Porch pirate’ references the pirates of a bygone era. They would infiltrate naval fleets and steal whatever they could find. The term “porch pirates” was first posted to Urban Dictionary in 2011 and first appeared on Twitter the same year.


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