Prevent Package Theft

Protect your packages graphic for University of Michigan's Division of Public Safety and Security

By now, you’ve likely seen more than one video of a “porch pirate” stealing a package from someone’s doorstep. Thanks to more and more homeowners having video cameras pointed at their front doors, we’ve seen these thieves swipe packages, sometimes working in teams, with one person running to the porch and the other driving the getaway car.

The Rise of Package Thefts

The pandemic has changed consumer behavior forever – and online shopping looks set to stay. This increase in online shopping has been met with a serious increase in package theft. 

According to research conducted by C + R Research, about one-quarter (23%) of the Americans they interviewed were victims of package theft in 2021. And, for almost one-third of these people, it has happened more than once. Even if you are lucky enough to not be a package theft victim, chances are you know someone who is. The same study revealed that 60% of people know someone who has had a package stolen during the holiday season.   

Prevention Tips

There is no doubt that the pandemic has highlighted the inefficiencies in current package delivery protocols. Nevertheless, here are some ways you can help keep your packages more secure: 

  • Install a video doorbell or security camera: Some video doorbells will allow you to receive alerts when a person is close to your door, so you can interact with the person and possibly deter the thief. The video can also be helpful when reporting the incident to police.   
  • Schedule packages to arrive when you’re home: It’s important to try to schedule deliveries for when you know you can receive them immediately.
  • Have the packages delivered to a more secure area: If you can’t be home for a delivery, consider having your package delivered to your office or to the home of a family member or friend who would be able to receive the package. 
  • Provide delivery instructions: Give delivery services the most information possible for making a delivery so your package will end up in a more secure location. Do you have a back porch a delivery person can easily access that’s more secure? Do you have a gate they can come inside to place a delivery more securely? Do you have a large potted plant on the porch that a small package can be tucked behind? All of these could be options for lowering the risk of a delivery being stolen.
  • Consider pick-up delivery options: FedEx, UPS, USPS, and Amazon now offer alternative shipping locations where your package will be secure until you are ready to pick it up. 

We hope this information helps you keep the “porch pirates” away. However, if you find yourself to be a victim of theft, report the crime to your local law enforcement.