We’ve talked a lot about how porch pirates make off with your package and how difficult it is to catch them afterwards. We’ve also talked a lot about prevention. But sometimes package thieves do get caught, and often it’s thanks to a fair amount of luck. With some preparation, you can make this rare possibility more likely in the event everything you’re doing in the name of deterrence doesn’t work.
Imagine this: you have a package sitting on your porch. Nobody’s home, you don’t have any cameras, and no neighbors are around to see. The porch pirate walks casually up to your front door, picks up the package, and casually walks away. At this point, the best chance you have of catching the thief is to keep your eyes on Craigslist. With no other evidence…good luck. What’s more, if you set up a signature release with the courier for the convenience of it, and UPS or FedEx can prove they delivered, there’s very little recourse you have with them. This isn’t the situation you want to be in, right? (I didn’t think so.)
Most package theft is stopped when the thief is caught in the act. This might be a neighbor seeing someone walking off with your package. Even if you didn’t need another reason to become friendlier with your neighbors, this is a big one. Neighbors get a feeling for the neighborhood and know when something is out of place. Sometimes FedEx or UPS drivers can catch porch pirates if they notice someone following them. After deterrence, this is really the best case scenario. If a thief is caught in the act, then you usually won’t have to worry about recovering your package, and maybe the porch pirate will turn back from a life of crime…
If a human can’t be present, then tech can help. Security cameras are often useful in helping catch a thief after they’ve committed a crime. If nothing else, you’ll know what the person looks like and will be able to have something to go on. Even better are video doorbells. These often include motion sensors and two direction audio, allowing you to monitor your porch and even talk to whoever is there (“Hey…hey…stop that…stop that!”). Finally, devices like Canary or The Package Guard both alert you and your contacts and sound an alarm that would frighten away even the heartiest of porch pirates.
Catching a package thief in the act is the next best scenario after deterrence. If you can catch them and either stop them or frighten them away before they take your package, it’s better because you won’t have to worry about recovering your package and its contents. After that, just capturing the thief on camera can help in an investigation, but you still might be out a package. In any case, since we can’t rely on deterrence, it’s not a bad plan to invest in one or several of these tricks to catch porch pirates in the act.