Online shopping has helped revolutionize the way we shop, giving us access to literally tens of thousands of products at any time, day or night. But online shopping has brought with it a whole new problem: online shoppers are finding themselves victims of porch piracy.
What is Porch Piracy?
Porch pirates/piracy is the practice of stealing packages left on someone’s doorstep. If you belong to a neighborhood Facebook Group, you’ll know that it occurs with alarming frequency.
The problem has been made worse by the ‘no contact’ rule enforced by many delivery businesses. That often meant that – even though you were working from home – you may not have known that a parcel had been left at your front door, let alone the front gate!
Now, with COVID restrictions easing, many of us are returning to work. That is resulting in your deliveries being exposed to the risk of Porch Piracy for hours.
Porch Piracy is Often Spontaneous
While you and I are appalled at the idea of stealing someone’s possessions, not everyone shares those ethics. When opportunity beckons, some people find the potential reward greater than the risk. It could be as simple as a porch pirate driving past and spotting your package on your porch.
Porch Piracy is a Growing Problem…
According to data from parcel-delivery service CouriersPlease, two Australian cities (Brisbane and Melbourne) recorded a 22% and 13% increase in porch piracy last year! That porch piracy can be devastating when the stolen item is a special birthday gift or collectible. In fact, if you have sent a gift to a third party, you may not even know it has been stolen for days or weeks!
This doesn’t bode well for the $1.1 billion delivery industry, which has been grappling with how to solve the problem of online shopping theft and parcel pilfering. In response, delivery companies are developing smart software that uses geofencing and electronic monitoring to double-check whether their drivers have successfully made it to the right address and whether the delivery has been taken by someone else.
Online shopping is the fastest-growing retail segment on the planet. Most of us appreciate being able to shop from the comfort of our homes. However, it is important that consumers take a few extra steps to ensure that their online shopping experience is safe and secure. The following seven suggestions will help keep you and your family safe and your money secure.
Opt-in for retail insurance if it’s available
When you opt for parcel insurance, you can be reimbursed if the purchase is lost, damaged, or porch pirates. When shopping for expensive or fragile items, some retailers automatically add an insurance fee during checkout but it is more typically an option.
Have parcels delivered to your workplace or to a friend’s home
If you’re not home to take delivery, try to have parcels redirected to a friend’s house or to your workplace. Unfortunately, not all delivery businesses are able to offer this option.
Sign up for a collection point
Collection points are becoming increasingly popular. They offer many advantages and are fee-free! Collection points are open all hours of the day, meaning that you don’t have to waste time or find a safe place to park your car, you can simply collect your parcel. Some collection points, such as pharmacies, gas stations, and convenience stores are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That means you can collect your parcel whenever it’s convenient for you, even in the dead of night.
Install Wifi security cameras around your home
Like all technology, the price of security cameras has plummeted in recent years while quality has increased dramatically.
The sight of a battery-powered, weatherproof camera is enough to deter most porch pirates. By using a smartphone app, you can track real-time motion, and set up sensor alerts, loud sirens, or even strobe lighting to discourage intruders or thieves any time of day or night. Good cameras cost as little as $100 each and can be installed in minutes.
Elephantrunk parcel drop is the best solution for parcel deliveries. The Elephantrunk is always home even when you are not, providing you with peace of mind that your parcel deliveries are no longer missed or go missing.
This full-service receptacle can receive multiple parcels and has an outgoing partition for your outbound shipments and a vacation stopper for when you don't want to receive parcels.
Get a lockable parcel box
For shoppers who buy expensive items online, a lockable parcel box will provide some peace of mind. Couriers will have to open the parcel box, place the item and close it. Once placed in the box, it can only be opened from the bottom, which is usually within the house or a similar safe place. Lockable parcel boxes retail for between $100 and $500 depending on size and strength. You’ll find a good selection on Amazon.
Always request discreet, unbranded packaging
offer. This helps safeguard high-value goods. Many retailers offer their customers the option to have their orders delivered in branded packaging, or in sustainable, unbranded packaging. By choosing sustainable, unbranded packaging you will be reducing the carbon footprint of your delivery while also reducing the risk of your order from porch pirates.
Join and be active in your neighborhood watch group
As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, it is only natural to see the emergence of online neighborhood watch groups for porch pirates. While not all neighborhoods have such groups, many do. They are a great way to keep each other informed on local happenings.
These groups can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, and some of the groups are even organized by the police. If you notice porch pirates in your area, you can share that information with the people in your neighborhood.
But remember the golden rule… we get what we give. If you are an active participant, others will notice and respond accordingly. If you are a silent observer, other members may not even know you exist, let alone keep an eye on your home!
Ending Porch Piracy Helps Everyone
In summary, the seven steps above are all easy to implement. Even the simplest one – signing up for a collection point – will provide huge benefits.
Unfortunately, some thieves are increasingly sophisticated as well, and it’s almost impossible to keep your home completely secure. But, if you take the time to protect yourself, you can avoid the heartbreak of losing your valuables.