How to Thwart Porch Pirates this Holiday Season

unattended packages on porchThe holiday shopping season is upon us, and increasing numbers of people are choosing the convenience of shopping from their couch and ordering online.  But the increase in online shopping has led to a new problem: “Porch Pirates” – thieves who snag unattended packages from your porch.  This has gotten to be quite a problem in some neighborhoods – these criminals can run up to your door and steal a package in a matter of seconds.  Here are a few tips for keeping these lowlifes from running off with your holiday gifts:

Provide specific delivery instructions

If the delivery service allows it, provide them with specific delivery instructions, such as leaving the item on a back porch or some other location which takes longer to get to from the street or which is hidden from plain view.

Have items delivered to a secure pickup location

Another option is to have your items delivered to someplace more secure. This is less convenient for you, since you will need to go pick them up, but completely bypasses the risk of having them stolen from your porch.  Most “brick-and-mortar” stores that sell online also offer “in-store” pickup. If you’re buying from, Amazon operates delivery lockers in some locations. Small, lightweight items that are worth less than approx.  CDN $6000 are eligible for this free service.  Currently, Amazon Lockers, while relatively plentiful in the US, are only available in Canada in the Vancouver and Toronto areas, but watch for them to be adding locations to this popular service. You could also arrange to have your packages delivered to a neighbour, friend or relative who is home during the day.

Monitor your home

A third option for preventing porch piracy is to install security cameras and monitor your package deliveries.  Home security systems run the gamut in price, from inexpensive, easy-to-install DIY systems on up. Two popular entry-level products are the RING doorbell and Blink security cameras. Both connect to your home wi-fi and can be controlled and monitored from your phone. Video recording can be triggered by a motion detector. Both are easy to install and prices start at under CDN $200.

The presence of security cameras in itself may deter some thefts, however these products are not without drawbacks. If your wi-fi performance is weak, the motion detector may not be quick enough to catch a fast-moving thief. Also, someone could potentially cover the lens / sensor or even remove the camera. However hopefully it would get an up-close-and-personal recording of them before they manage to do this.


  Concerned about overall home security? A secure home in general begins by ensuring that your doors and any easily accessible windows are robust and in good working order, with secure latches / locks. If you are in the Edmonton area and believe that your doors or windows are in need of repair or replacement, contact Reflect Window and Door for a free estimate.