The world-wide network responsible for transporting packages and daily mail is nothing short of amazing. On any given day, UPS alone handles about 15.8 million packages. However, during the holiday season, that number skyrockets as online gift-buying reaches its annual peak.
With a rise in package delivery comes a corresponding rise in doorstep thefts. Dubbed “porch pirates,” petty thieves all over the U.S. simply walk up to neighbor’s front steps and swipe the neatly-wrapped parcels left by the postman.
Though rather comic, every year porch pirates cause some serious damage. In fact, 26 million Americans say they’ve had a package stolen from their step during the holidays.
If you’ve had a package stolen recently, or if you want to preemptively protect your holiday gifting plans, use the following tips to stop porch pirates in their tracks:
1. Make A Secure Delivery Request
More and more, delivery services are working with customers to create safer drop-off options, and now try to hide packages from plain sight. Try leaving online requests for delivery service workers, such as “leave near side entrance.” You can even purchase porch decorations designed to conceal boxes, like a storage bench or small, lockable box. Though asking delivery workers to leave a package in a special location doesn’t guarantee they will comply, often, delivery persons are willing help ensure your items aren’t stolen.
2. Deliver Packages To Your Workplace
If hiding packages doesn’t work, you can always have them delivered somewhere else. Some companies allow employees to have packages dropped off at the office, where a mail service or receptionist is more likely to monitor incoming items. Your workplace is probably more protected than your porch, and in any case, you’ll actually be present to receive a package that is delivered during work hours.
3. Enlist Neighborhood Helpers
Consider asking neighbors to keep an eye on your porch if you have no other way of protecting your items. Use tracking tools to estimate when your package will arrive, and let someone trustworthy nearby know when your package might show up. Your chosen helper can either pick up the package and hag on to it until you return, or they can move your delivery to somewhere safe on your own property, like the garage.
4. Don’t Ship Expensive Items in the First Place
The very best method of preventing expensive and frustrating thefts might be to skip ordering packages completely. Electronics are one of the top three most valuable items moved on the U.S. transportation network, but chances are, you can find that video game system or laptop at the store just as easily as you can online. Don’t give porch pirate the chance to steal your most valuable gifts, and use in-store pickup for big-ticket items.
My Package Was Stolen! Now What Do I Do?
If your package has already been stolen, unfortunately, there aren’t many ways to get it back. Calling the police isn’t necessary for a $15 delivery, and though there might be 1,315,561 lawyers in the United States, very few of that million can help you win back the toaster or kitten socks that were swiped from your doorstep.
Though your lawyer might not get involved, you can report mail theft complaints if your package was delivered through USPS, and you can try contacting UPS or FedEx to initiate a tracing process. For expensive thefts, you can consider reaching out to your local police in case there’s been a porch-theft trend in the area. If you have security footage, the police can likely be of even more help. If all else fails, try calling your credit card company. Some credit cards offer protection for covered purchases. Your toaster might be gone forever, but there’s a chance you can at least get your money back.
Unlike pirates of olden days, today’s porch pirates are less swashbuckling and more frustrating. Protect your porch deliveries this holiday with these pirate-stopping tricks. With preparedness and common sense, you can ensure your gifts and you money stay safe from harm.