Beware of porch pirates this holiday season

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 5:07 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2023 at 5:45 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - With the holidays, the rise in early online shopping and deliveries presents an excellent opportunity for theft from porch pirates. Columbus Police Department Lieutenant Alan McCarty says around this time of year porch pirates are busy.

“It’s happening pretty frequently but with the holiday season obviously more people are shopping online now so people are having things delivered, so it will increase,” said McCarty.

According to a Safewise article in 2022, an estimated 113 million packages were nabbed, making the 2023 estimate just over 5% higher. McCarty says there are a couple of things you can do to prevent porch pirates from stealing packages from your home.

“If you work maybe have it shipped to your place of business if that is an option you know most packages usually arrive in the daytime if you’re working in the daytime oh it’ll be there. Another option would be if you have a neighbor that you trust you could ask them to look out for the package or if they’re home in the daytime you could have it shipped to their address,” said McCarty.

Another prevention tool to keep thieves away from your porch is having surveillance footage.

“If you get a photo or video of somebody you don’t know who it is we probably don’t know who it is. It may be hard to identify that person. You can pick up a tag number or something like that maybe it’s somebody that we already looking for. We can match the video so yes it can be helpful,” said McCarty.

McCarty says if you are a victim to a porch pirate you should first contact the sender.

“We have a new online self-reporting portal where they can go on the line online from the comfort of their home, and they can report the theft of the package and it will automatically generate a police report for them if they need one to send to Amazon or anybody else wherever they ordered things from,” said McCarty.

Another way you can keep your packages safe is by picking them up at your local FedEx, UPS or USPS. If someone is caught stealing packages from a porch they will be imprisoned to one or more than five years in jail.