News and Media

Unattended Packages: An Open Invitation to Piracy

Unless you have been living under a self-imposed media blackout for the last five or six years, you have heard of porch piracy. This very common crime is perpetrated by thieves who think nothing of walking up to a person’s porch and swiping unattended packages. Here’s the problem: unattended packages are an open invitation to piracy. They are pirate magnets.


To a skilled thief, unattended packages left on porches are no different than purses left unattended in grocery carts. They are begging to be stolen. The surprising thing to me is that so many people leave packages unattended despite constant news reports of local porch piracy.


It’s a Global Problem


You might be tempted to think that porch piracy is an American problem. It’s not. Porch piracy is a problem worldwide. In any country where package delivery is common, porch pirates roam. It is part of the territory.


Vivint Smart Home recently published a post detailing global porch piracy data. They crunched the numbers from a variety of sources and came up with some startling statistics. Here are just some of them:


  • 80% of adults worldwide leave packages unattended after delivery.
  • 26% of adults have had a package stolen from the porch, mailbox, etc.
  • The average per-package loss worldwide is $123.


Australians are most likely to leave packages unattended at a rate of 88%. Americans take second place at a rate of 86%. The UK, Canada, and Japan round out the top five at 83%, 82%, and 76%, respectively.


There Are Other Options


I am no law enforcement expert, but I suspect that one of the things that frustrates local police departments is the fact that porch piracy doesn’t have to happen. Packages do not have to be left unattended. Indeed, there are other options.


What are those options? Secure package lockers immediately come to mind. Consumers willing to make the investment can purchase their own lockers. The devices are mounted to the porch or wall with bolts. Once a package is put inside and the door closed, it is locked securely inside.


Consumers unwilling to spend the money can have their packages delivered to local locker locations instead. It is a little inconvenient to have to drive to the location to pick up packages, but that’s better than having them stolen off the front porch.


There are still other options:


  • Arranging to have packages left with neighbors.
  • Having package is delivered to your workplace.
  • Installing a smart lock so you can let delivery drivers in the house.
  • Leaving instructions for deliveries to be left in the garage.


There are so many ways to avoid leaving packages unattended that they cannot all be listed here. Just use your imagination. Yes, making other arrangements takes some of the convenience out of home delivery. But sacrificing convenience to stop porch piracy seems like a good deal to me.


Video Cameras as a Deterrent


If your only solution for preventing porch piracy is an exterior video camera or video doorbell, rethink your strategy. Video cameras do act as a deterrent to some degree. However, creative porch pirates know how to conceal their identities while they work. In ever growing numbers, they are ignoring cameras altogether.


The best way to prevent your packages from being stolen is to guarantee they are never left unattended on the porch or in any other insecure location. If you value convenience instead, you will just have to take your chances. I prefer not to. I am among that small number (14%) of Americans who make a point of never leaving packages unattended. I have never had one stolen.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button