How to stop 'porch pirates' from stealing your holiday packages
TORONTO -- With the rise of online shopping unfortunately came a new phenomenon known as “porch piracy” where thieves go door-to-door stealing packages that have just been delivered.
Last year in the U.S. courier companies along with the U.S. Postal service reported that more than 26 million packages were stolen. It’s an issue that's becoming an increasing problem in Canada as well.
Technology expert Marc Saltzman said that while video doorbell systems can often catch the thief in the act, it doesn’t always deter them from taking something off your front porch.
“Unfortunately even the video doorbell systems aren’t much of a deterrent these days. If someone wants, they can put on a hoodie and hide their face and they’re off,” Saltzman said.
Homeowners who choose to install a video doorbell should also know that the device will only allow them to monitor their door in real-time. Users who want to go back and review older footage will need to pay a monthly fee for the service.
As a result, Saltzman said that new products are coming to market to protect against "porch piracy".
Saltzman said that one item to look out for is the Delivery Pod, which goes on sale in Canada in March of next year. The device sells for $399 and has two storage compartments, a mail slot and is smartphone compatible. It can be chained, locked or even bolted to your home.
“For example, the courier will see the top slot is open. The light is green. When he puts in the package the light will turn red and it will lock. The homeowner will then get a notice on their smartphone that a delivery has been made,” Saltzman said. “That way the porch pirate ends up empty handed," he added.
Some other ways to prevent holiday package theft is to have the package sent to your work or to a relative or friend that will be home at the time of delivery. You can also have it held at your local post office, use a "ship to store" option or request a signature upon delivery.