How to thwart 'porch pirates' this holiday season

Boxes and packages next to front door during holiday Christmas season.
Boxes and packages next to front door during holiday Christmas season. Photo credit Getty Images
By , KCBS Radio

"Porch pirates" has become a common term to describe robbers who steal packages from unsuspecting homes. It's a crime that tends to increase during the holidays, but there are steps people can take to protect themselves and their property.

Ben Stickle, a former law enforcement officer who conducted a study on porch pirates by viewing instances of the thefts uploaded to YouTube, told KCBS Radio a few important tips to thwart the thieves this holiday season.

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"What we did notice was that the packages that were visible from the roadway and closer to the roadway seem to be stolen more, so this really comes down to a crime of opportunity," he said.

With more people shopping online for holiday gifts, the number of home deliveries increases, providing an easy target that often goes unreported.

Stickle said the robbers regularly work in pairs. "There are definitely some who will have someone else who is a look out, more often than not they are the driver," he said.

Many Amazon Prime members have their packages delivered to lock boxes at stores, but this solution does not work for everyone.

"The best thing you can do is just remove the opportunity," Stickle advised. "If you can hide the package or get it off your porch as soon as it's there that's great. Another option is a lockable porch box."

A company called DeliverySafe designs secure boxes that allow customers to receive packages securely, no matter where they are. "That's really the best thing you can do, to have your delivery driver place your package inside of a locked container that's on your front porch," Stickle said.

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