Prime Day (and a half) was the biggest shopping day in Amazon history and porch pirates couldn’t be happier.
If you bought something on Amazon Prime Day and a half, you’re probably expecting it to arrive any day now. Amazon claims it sold over 100 million items making it the largest shopping event in Amazon history. If you’re looking forward to the FedEx or UPS truck, so are the so-called ‘porch pirates’.
Porch Pirates are criminals who steal packages from porches and doorsteps. A recent survey found 31% of Americans say it’s happened to them at least once. The holidays are busy times for these common criminals but since Prime Day was such a success, police expect those porch pirates to be patrolling neighborhoods looking for packages left on the front steps when no one is home.
“It’s a crime that’s starting to happen more and more often,” said Hendersonville, Tennessee police officer Spencer Bristol. He spent part of Thursday patrolling neighborhoods looking for parked cars on the streets as well as people walking past houses looking at the front steps.
“A lot of times they’ll get out of their vehicle and kind of walk down the street to see what they can see on the porch. They’ll take the package, bring it back to their car and drive off,” he said.
You’ve probably seen photos and videos of these crimes shared on Facebook. It takes only seconds. Some go so far as following delivery trucks and waiting until the driver is far enough away to not be seen.
Bristol said there are a few ways to protect your home and ensure your package is where it’s supposed to be when you get home from work.
“A great proactive and reactive tool would be a camera. A lot of folks who are committing these types of crimes are looking for the path of least resistance,” said Bristol. “If the crime does occur, we have a great big picture of a suspect we can blast on Facebook.”
Amazon does a good job updating customers on where their package is and when it is expected to be delivered. Customers can sign-in to their Amazon account and click “orders” for any updates. You can also use the option to be notified when a package is delivered. Amazon cannot tell you the exact time frame the package will be delivered but you can track the package using the delivery service. UPS, FedEx, and the USPS have options on their website where a customer can follow the package as it makes its way to their house. If it is expected to arrive when you’re not home, you can (for a fee) change the delivery address so it goes to a neighbor’s house, your work address or a shipping store such as FedEx.
There is still room for error. I ordered a television on sale Prime Day and Amazon’s e-mails told me it would arrive by 8 pm Friday. Wednesday afternoon, the box was left on my doorstep by a delivery driver and would have sat there for hours had I not been home. Amazon apparently didn’t know it would be delivered that early and I did not receive any notification that it had been delivered until Thursday.
Home security cameras can be purchased now for around $100 that allows you to watch a live-stream of the front door through an app on your smartphone. Officer Bristol suggests mounting the camera somewhere it can be seen from the street. Porch pirates do not want their face shared on Facebook committing the crime, so if they see the camera, they may skip your house and leave the package where it’s supposed to be.