Batten Down The Hatches, It’s Porch Pirate Season
Batten Down The Hatches, It's Porch Pirate Season
The age of convenience comes with its perks. Within a few taps on our phones, we can order groceries, presents for the kids, or a new toy for Fido. For most, this level of convenience has become the norm and is especially helpful during the holiday season. However, more convenient shopping for consumers comes with some unwelcome companions, known as porch pirates.
Some Stats to Keep in Mind
According to Safewise, an organization specializing in security accessibility and education, 64% of Americans are victims of porch pirates and approximately 210 million packages vanished from porches in the last 12 months. Safewise curated a list of the most affected cities in the United States, with Denver, Colorado coming in at number one. Covered is a Colorado-based company that believes in empowering and educating our customers, and with the holiday shopping season rapidly approaching, now is the time to talk about this.
If you are unfamiliar with the nautical-inspired slang, ‘porch pirates’ prowl neighborhoods searching to steal unsupervised packages delivered on porches and doorsteps. Although it’s a strange game of roulette, as an unknown package can contain anything from new shoes to diapers, this type of crime is becoming increasingly more common in neighborhoods across the country.
Frustrating? Yes, but there are some cost-efficient, yet effective, steps we can take to mitigate the risk.
Ramp up a Neighborhood Watch
There is power in numbers, so if you already have a relationship with your neighbors, you’re halfway there. If not, now may be a good time to introduce yourself and maybe even bring some baked treats for good measure. Some of your neighbors may work from home, from an office, or even nights and weekends. Get to know one another’s schedules so you can be on the lookout for deliveries when someone is not home. If everyone is comfortable, you can take it a step further and create a system where a watch person collects packages or moves them to a hidden location when a neighbor isn’t home.
Turn up that Ring Volume
One more phone notification won’t hurt, right? Especially if it helps keep our deliveries secure. Most major delivery services allow you to opt into status alerts, emails, or texts for your shipments. This lets you know when a delivery is expected so you can collect the package sooner than later. If you will not be home for a while or are out of town, you can instruct a trusted individual to secure your package.
Scope out Some Hiding Places
You know your home best. If you live in a single-family home or townhouse, explore inconspicuous places where a delivery can be hidden such as a car port, accessible back porch, or structure that obstructs someone’s view from the street. If you live in an apartment complex consult with management if they accept and hold packages for their tenants. Once you have your super secret hiding place picked out, include these details in your delivery instructions on your orders.
Switch up Your Delivery Address
In a world where hybrid work and working from home is more common, it's still not the norm for everyone. If you regularly work from an office or travel frequently, explore delivery locations other than your home. Here are some alternatives:
- Speak with your office manager or human resources department about receiving deliveries at your office address.
- Contact your local post office about P.O. box options nearby.
- If you frequently order from Amazon, there may be an Amazon Locker facility near you where your packages can safely await pick up. You can choose this option at checkout.
Now we have some tools in our belt to help prevent porch pirates. However, as an insurance agency we understand (better than most) that regardless of planning and preparation, lousy things can happen. If you are a victim of porch pirates, there are a few ways you can remedy this annoying invasion of privacy.
Don’t Hesitate to File a Police Report
Typically, there is not much the police can do to address porch pirating aside from catching someone in the act. That being said, filing a police report is the best way to document an incident and can help prevent future ones. If your surrounding neighbors also report similar events, this can bump your neighborhood up on law enforcement’s radar and hopefully will result in an investigation. When filing a report, be sure to provide any evidence you may have such as:
- Doorbell or security camera footage.
- Eye witness accounts.
- Documentation that the package was delivered.
- Details you can provide about the day/time the theft occurred.
Share and Connect with Your Community
The digital age provides many ways to connect with friends, family, and neighbors. The most effective means of connection depends on your neighborhood, but here are a few places you can check:
- The Nextdoor App - 1 in 4 houses is registered with Nextdoor, making it one of the most popular apps for this purpose. You can share news, security alerts, ask for recommendations, and even buy and sell goods and services. You can connect not only with immediate neighbors but also with other neighborhoods nearby.
- Facebook Groups - If another app seems like more clutter, check Facebook to see if your neighborhood has created a group for its residents. If there isn’t one already, you can learn how to create a Facebook Group in a few easy steps. Facebook also allows the creator to control privacy and invitation settings so you can limit the group to include only those who belong there.
Report the Stolen Package to the Sender
Although companies are usually not obligated to resend an item swiped from your porch, most of them will in the name of good faith and customer service. Much like collecting evidence for a police report, be sure to do the same when requesting a replacement from a seller. If you strike out there, you may also be able to file a claim with the delivery service.
File a Claim with the Delivery Service
This one is a little daunting. So we created a quick reference guide for the major delivery service providers and their “how-to” pages for filing a claim:
- Amazon - Of all delivery services, this will likely be the simplest. Amazon is known for its close to “no questions asked” refund and return process.
- FedEx - Their process requires just a few steps and details about your order. Once you select “File a Claim,” their system will walk you through the process, starting with your tracking number.
- UPS - Similar to its competitor above, you can complete this process with relative ease. Be aware that you have 60 days from the incident to file a claim for it to be considered for investigation.
- USPS - The most notable difference between the postal service and the services above, is proof of insurance on the item is required to file a claim. The process also differs if you are shipping an item domestically or internationally.