Few things are more frustrating than finding that you’ve been the victim of a “Porch Pirate”. The individuals that steal packages after they’ve been delivered to your home are often impossible to catch. If you can’t prove your package was stolen you may be out the cost of your item as well as the trouble of attempting to order a replacement.
Luckily, there are several steps you can take to avoid having packages stolen at all and, at the very least, provide the proof necessary to ensure that you aren’t financially responsible for the replacement of your package.
Have the Package Held
If you live in an apartment complex, it’s likely that the front office will hold your packages for pickup. If this isn’t already their policy, they may be willing to do so if you ask. If you live in independent housing or your apartment complex isn’t willing or able to do this, most delivery companies will hold your package upon request until you are able to come and pick it up.
Some companies, such as Amazon, also provide the option to have your package delivered to a local locker that will keep your package secure until you retrieve it. These options are the only way that you can totally guarantee your package will not be stolen as they will either require photo ID or a code in order to retrieve the package.
Watch Your Back
Including visible security cameras in your home security system are a good option for deterring and capturing would-be thieves in the act. It’s important that the cameras be clearly visible in order for them to be an effective deterrent. If you opt for a smart camera, it can alert your smart phone of any motion activated occurrences, such as a thief stealing your package. Some will even emit an audible alarm to scare of thieves. While a camera may not always deter a thief, it will provide the photographic evidence that you’ll need in order to obtain a refund or replacement. Even if the company you purchased from isn’t willing to offer a refund, you can frequently obtain one from your credit card company as long as you have proof of the theft.
Another option are devices such as the Package Guard, which will notify you when your package is delivered, as well as if your package is removed. It will also emit an audible alarm if someone takes your package. The major drawback to this solution is that it requires the delivery person to actually follow the directions (they have to place the packages on top of the device) and it assumes that a thief knows the device is an alarm. Otherwise you simply have packages stacked on a device on your front porch, and it may be just as simple to direct the delivery person to place the packages in a more inconspicuous area such as a concealed side door or behind a plant.
However you choose to avoid theft, it’s important to do what you can to hold the offending parties responsible. The person making the delivery has a responsibility to follow directions (placing it correctly, obtaining a signature, being discreet), and the individual shipping your item should also do their best to send your items in nondescript packaging. When they fail to do this, you are justified in expecting them to take steps to make it right.