Online shoppers changing routine to prevent porch piracy

Local News

About 25.9 million Americans had a holiday package delivery swiped off their front porch or doorstep in 2017, according to a study conducted earlier this year by

The same study, from 2015, indicated 23.5 million Americans were victims of porch pirates. Since the trend is heading steadily up, the focus on protecting deliveries is on many online shoppers’ minds.

Shorr Packaging, a company that distributes packaging products, equipment, and services conducted a study of 1,000 Americans who shop online. Among the survey results:

  • 92% prefer to get packages delivered to their home
  • 35% sent a package to a different address, other than their home, to prevent theft
  • 53% of respondents changed their plans in order to receive a package, even if they didn’t have to sign for it 
  • Compared to millennials and Gen X, Baby Boomers were the least likely to change their plans in order to receive a package

When asked what makes packages appealing to pirates, the top three answers were:

  • 33% Location of the box after arriving
  • 31% branded packaging (e.g. Zappos)
  • 20% descriptive text on the box (e.g. fragile, TV inside) 

When asked if online retailers are doing enough to prevent porch piracy, 61 percent of people surveyed said no. Twenty-three percent of respondents weren’t sure what measures online retailers should take to reduce porch piracy, but believe these options help: 

  • 29% discreet packaging
  • 18% offer to ship to a secure location
  • 16% package theft insurance
  • 9% track packages with GPS
  • 4.5% different size boxes if the shape clearly indicates what is inside
  • 0.7% requiring a signature for delivery

The US Postal Service issued this list of tips to help stop your holidays from being thwarted by pirates:

  • Don’t leave your delivered mail and packages unattended. Just as you would not leave your wallets and purses on the front seat of an unlocked car overnight, mail and packages should not be left sitting in mailboxes or on front porches for any length of time.
  • Going out of town? Hold your mail at your local Post Office. If you plan on taking a trip or know you won’t be able to check your mail for a few days, consider using the Hold Mail service on Letters and packages will be held securely at your Post Office until you pick them up or request they be delivered to your home.
  • Plan ahead. Ship using Hold for Pickup. When shipping packages, you can choose the Hold for Pickup option, and the recipients can collect their packages at their local Post Office. If you are expecting a package, you can redirect it to your local Post Office by selecting Hold for Pickup using Intercept a Package under Track & Manage on
  • Customize the delivery. If you know the package will not fit in your mailbox and you won’t be home to receive it, you can authorize the carrier to leave it in a specified location. Visit, enter the tracking number in Track a Package, and select Delivery Instructions.
  • Secure the shipment using USPS Special Services. Signature Confirmation helps ensure the package ends up in the right hands by requiring a signature at the time of delivery. For your most valuable packages, you can opt for Registered Mail service. Registered Mail receives special handling from the time it’s mailed until the time it’s delivered, with documentation every step of the way.

Law enforcement officers say there’s no study directly correlating crime statistics and doorbell cameras, but the surveillance devices are certainly deterrents. Investigators say the cameras change the way they do their jobs, making it easier to solve crimes and stop pirates from pillaging more homes. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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