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Holiday Shopping Season Means Porch Pirates Could Be Sailing By Your Door -- Here’s How You Can Fight Back

A U.S. Postal Service employee delivers packages.
A U.S. Postal Service employee delivers packages.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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With the holiday season fast approaching and more than half of holiday shoppers saying they plan to do the majority of their shopping online this year, it’s no surprise that cities and towns across the country see an increase in so-called “porch pirates” – those parcel-pinching pilferers with a penchant for procuring packages from the porches of the poorly-prepared.

And that means that you, the consumer, have to be especially vigilant if you’re one of the 54% of people who will be using the internet for most or all of your holiday shopping.

Sadly, Los Angeles is not exempt from this troubling holiday trend. A new report from the home security review site Safewise ranks L.A. ninth out of the top ten metro areas where porch pirates strike most (San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose is number one for the second straight year). Cases of porch piracy can also be tough to solve. The Denver Police Department, which tracks package theft, reports about a 7 percent arrest rate on package-stealers. The increase in popularity of video doorbells and other front door camera technology have been a boon in helping police catch more porch pirates, but if your home doesn’t have one, there may not be much you can do beyond reporting the theft and hoping for the best. Some police departments are even setting up sting operations in their jurisdictions by leaving decoy packages around town.

If you can’t be home when your package is supposed to be delivered, all hope is not lost. You can always have your parcel shipped to your local post office, though most are only open 9 to 5. Delivery companies like UPS and FedEx offer the option to have your package sent to a secure facility for pickup. Amazon offers lockers in more than 70 metro areas where you can have your item shipped, though these can be scarce during the holiday season, and even has options that allow you to let Amazon leave your package in your car or even in your house, assuming you have the right car and equipment.

Today on AirTalk, we’ll take a look at the increase in porch piracy across the country, find out where Southern California fits into the picture, hear what retailers are doing to help combat the problem, and take your calls at 866-893-5722.


Katie McEntire, security expert at Safewise, a website that reviews and rates home security and safety products, which recently released a report on the top cities across the U.S. for ‘porch pirating’

Sucharita Kodali, e-commerce analyst at Forrester Research, a technology research and advisory firm based in Cambridge, MA; she tweets @smulpuru

Lt. William Grisafe, public information officer for Pasadena Police Department