Porch Pirating is a Growing Trend - Here’s How to Protect Yourself

11/16/2016

Porch PiratingStealing packages and mail off a porch is considered a felony, and punishable up to 5 years in prison and fines, but that’s not stopping thief’s from taking your packages from your property and the crime statistics for this sky rockets during the holiday seasons.

It’s commonly called “Porch Pirating”, and the numbers of victims and cost of the valuables stolen is staggering. In 2015, online sales projected a total of 334 billion, and the United Postal Services estimated a total of 630 million packages the same year, just between Black Friday and Christmas alone. 2015 “Cyber Monday” sales amounted in 3 billion in sales in 24 hours. Data on actual theft from retail companies and delivery companies are extremely limited; with the US Postal services stating in 2015 "vast majority of the mail it delivers arrives intact", with UPS claiming thefts were “scant” out of tens of millions of packages it delivers, and FedeX declining to comment at all.

However, insurancequaotes.com estimated in 2015, that 23 million Americans had packages stolen. CNCB reported in 2015 on this subject and spoke to Laura Adams, a senior insurance analyst for insurancequotes.com; “If a shipping company fulfills their obligation and delivers the package the way that you paid for, you as the consumer are responsible for it if it’s stolen.”

Current statistics show that only 1 in 10 home burglaries are solved with arrest. That adds up to just 13% of all home burglaries. Compare this data to arrests for “porch pirating” and the arrest rate drops dramatically. The reason for this is, it only takes seconds for a thief to walk up to your door, grab your package and leave. Unless you have images or video, the possibility to find the thief and have police make an arrest is almost nonexistent.

UPS chose to combat the issue by adding the service “My Choice” which the consumer will receive benefits like a delivery message via text or email and choice of a 2-hour window delivery time however, consumers could also find this terribly expensive as not only does UPS charge a yearly premium rate for this service, but also for each package delivered there is an additional $8.00 per package delivery fee in addition to what they are paying for delivery service originally.

Fed Ex Delivery Manager also addresses thefts, and has a “free app” that allows consumers to re-direct their packages, or schedule a package for a specific date and time slot, however consumers may find their holiday shopping with Fed Ex just as expensive as UPS, with Fed Ex charging $5.00 to $10.00 per package delivery fee in addition to what the consumer pays for originally.

On May 12th 2016 Kevin Smith’s neighbor witnessed a thief pull up in a blue van, a man dart out to the porch and run back to the van with a package. The homeowner, Mr. Smith was stunned when he received the notification. It turns out that the thief, not knowing it, and taken Mr. Smith’s chemotherapy pills. The medication, Erivedge was for the skin cancer Mr. Smith had been battling for 6 long years. “That was like a punch in the heart, in the gut” he said of the theft. “It took my breath to know that I’m fighting it, but someone’s fighting me, fighting it. You are taking my package, not to mention my medication that I need. It’s invasive for me.”

The one thing that Mr. Smith did have on his side was a motion sensor camera system that was connected to his cell phone, and he was able to capture footage of the thief and the vehicle he was using. Ultimately using that video, the police were able to identify the ring of thieves who had committed crimes not only in the Armor Hills neighborhood, but also in Brookside, Leawood and Prairie Village Kansas areas.

 In California, it was reported that when a homeowner posted their video on social media immediately after receiving the video on their cell phone, it only took police and residents 1 hour to identify and arrest Jennifer Padgett and her accomplice Billy Davis, a parolee from the area.

Technology such as monitored motion sensor cameras have been responsible for the rising arrest rates of criminals. SkyBell, an affordable motion sensor HD camera doorbell has the ability to send motion sensor alerts to your phone, you also can now remotely “answer” your door through your phone and a 2-way call system. Other benefits of the product include because it is HD, the video and images are clear and even capture clear images and video after dark. You can also customize the sensitivity settings.

Best of all Sky Bell products are in our Total Connect Package!

Using this technology, and having clearly posted alarm company signs and camera systems in your yard is the best deterrent against crimes like these. Other tips are to schedule your deliveries to be hidden from street view, take advantage of delivery email updates, or if possible try to schedule deliveries when you are home and require a signature. Don’t let your home become their next target, call a Prudential Alarm specialist at 734-365-8807 and discuss how you can keep your home and property safe with Total Connect!

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