The holiday season brings cheer and merriment to thousands of people. That happiness can quickly change if those packages you ordered for your loved ones are stolen off your front porch. According to C+R Research 14 percent of Americans have fallen victim to porch pirates stealing packages in 2022. As you order gifts for your family this holiday season you must keep in mind that there are people out there looking to grab your packages. To keep your orders safe from those looking for a freebie take these four tips into consideration to stop porch pirates this holiday season.

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Track your orders

With each gift you order, make sure you receive a tracking number. This allows you to see where your package is in the delivery process. When you see what date your package is going to be delivered do your best to be home or have someone at the home to accept the package. It only takes a few minutes for someone to come up and steal your order so be aware of the time of delivery. If you can’t be home or have someone else at the residence leave a delivery comment on the form when you order your gift. Tell them where to place the delivery so it is out of sight. 

Require a signature at delivery

If you can’t be home or even if you are, require a signature upon delivery. This is especially important for any high dollar items. Requiring a signature means the delivery person is not allowed to leave the item at your door without a person signing for it. If you have an important gift or high dollar order always require a signature. Even if you aren’t home when the service delivers the item, they will not leave it. They will leave a note and often return the next day or two to or advise you where you can pick up your package. 

Ship to store

Many delivery services offer a ship to store option. UPS is one that advises if you have valuable items being shipped to have them sent their store for pick up. This takes away any instance for a person to steal the package as they keep your item at their secure location and will send a message via email or text that your item is available for pickup. If you have an item that you desperately need or is high in value this is a great option even though it may take a trip into town to pick it up. 

Use a security camera

Security cameras and video doorbells are great devices to have to deter porch pirates. These devices will pick up any movement and audio if someone comes to your door to steal your package. It is important to have this video if a package is stolen so you can show the authorities. It will provide video evidence of the package being stolen and may help in the capture of the person and the package being returned. Jason Fischbeck, President of Automated Environments in Phoenix, Arizona says smart doorbells with video capabilities are the best way to go to deter porch pirates. “These devices record video and audio and immediately sends any interaction directly to your cell phone, so you know what is happening at your doorstep even if you aren’t home.” If you aren’t sure what device to install contact a local provider for the proper device and installation.

If you are expecting a package on any given day over the holidays and it doesn’t arrive, immediately contact the provider of the item, and contact local authorities. Depending on the delivery service, they may provide insurance on the item or other ways to reimburse you for the loss.

Being vigilant is key during the holiday season to make sure your packages are not stolen. If you can, be home when packages are being delivered or advise the delivery service of a place to put the package, so it is out of sight. If you become a victim of porch piracy, contact your local law enforcement, check any cameras you may have set up and speak to your neighbors. 

Author: Bill Herzog is the CEO of LionHeart Security Services, a Tempe, Arizona based provider of security solutions for residential and commercial properties. Herzog has over 25 years of experience in law enforcement and security industry.