It is estimated that over 49 million Americans were victims of porch pirates in 2022, resulting in losses totaling around $2.4 billion. Most delivery service providers adhere to strict measures, ensuring that the packages they are delivering reach the recipients in question quickly and safely.

Even with stringent measures in place, many delivery companies opt to leave packages on porches and doorsteps when recipients aren’t home to receive them. They do this in an effort to stay on schedule and make other deliveries on time.

It’s not surprising that parcels left on doorsteps are prime targets for porch pirates, especially in neighborhoods with high crime rates and insufficient security. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to prevent this from happening to you.

In this guide, we’ll be sharing valuable insights on preventing package theft and highlighting the most important measures you can take to avoid falling victim to it. By implementing these strategies, you can safeguard your deliveries and ensure a worry-free shopping experience.

1. Track Your Deliveries

Most international delivery service providers such as UPS, FedEx, and Amazon provide a tracking number for each parcel that is shipped through their network. You can use this tracking code to learn when your package is and when it’s scheduled to arrive.

If your package has yet to be delivered, you can plan ahead and ensure that you are present to receive it at the requested delivery address on the date and time it is scheduled to arrive. You’ll also be able to use this information to know when your package has been delivered, so that you can collect it, in the event you were not available to receive it.

2. Make Yourself Available

One of the best ways to prevent package theft is to be available when your package is being delivered. When you are there to receive it, the delivery driver will hand you your package directly, instead of having to leave it in front of your doorstep.

receiving package

You can manage your time by looking at the estimated date and time of arrival and making yourself available on that date. You can simply put the date and time into your schedule so that you won’t forget!

However, it’s important to note that delivery dates may change, especially when it comes to international shipments, due to various factors such as customs clearance, adverse weather conditions, and more. Remember to track the status regularly using your tracking number!

3. Nominate a Third-Party Recipient

If you’re not able to make yourself available to receive your package, you can ask someone else to hold onto it for you. This could be someone you live with and will be home at the scheduled delivery time.

Alternatively, you can ask one of your neighbors to keep an eye out for the delivery and retrieve it from your doorstep the moment it is delivered. It is vital to inform this person about your package in advance, as this will help them anticipate the delivery and be ready to pick up your package when it arrives.

4. Deliver to a Secure Location

If you live in a neighborhood where packages are frequently stolen, you should consider changing the delivery address to a safer location, such as your workplace, a parcel locker, or even a friend’s or relative’s place.

parcel at secure location

This provides a safer alternative to protect against package theft and ensures secure delivery of your package. Make sure that the location is safe and that the nominated recipient is someone you can trust!

5. Provide Delivery Instructions

Most delivery service providers allow you to provide special delivery instructions. Delivery instructions are specific requests or information provided that may wish to provide to ensure the successful and accurate delivery of your package.

Depending on the delivery company you may be able to request a certain delivery date and time, or instructions on where and how to leave your package upon delivery.

For you example, you may request to have your package placed in a specific spot on your property, such as behind a plant or underneath a bench. The delivery agent will then attempt to follow your instructions.

6. Opt for Self-Collection 

Many major delivery service providers offer to hold packages at specially designated self-collection locations. These locations can be service centers, distribution warehouses, or even partner locations inside retail stores and other types of business outlets. 

Opting for self-collection is one of the best ways to keep your package safe, as each recipient is required to present a valid identification upon collection. You should consider this option if you’re concerned about a specific high-value item being stolen, or if you live in an area with frequent package thefts.

It’s important to note, that self-collection locations typically hold packages for a limited amount of time. For example, FedEx and UPS give recipients up to 7 days to collect their packages in most cases.

There may be certain self-collection locations that offer longer or shorter holding periods, so it is important to contact your local collection or delivery company and learn about their specific holding time policies in advance.

7. Use a Secured Parcel Locker

Another way to keep your package safe from porch thieves is to have it delivered to a secured parcel locker at your address. A parcel locker is a private locker that can be opened by the delivery agent when it’s empty.

When the package has been dropped off and placed inside the locker, the recipient is only able to retrieve it through a code or an app. Other lockers work with lock codes that are mentioned in the delivery instructions to the driver.

Once you’ve set up a secured parcel locker at your delivery address, you should provide the delivery instructions to have your package left there instead. This prevents package theft, as only the recipient is able to unlock it.

8. Request “Signature Required” Services

Many delivery companies offer a “Signature Required” service in which the delivery agent is required to verify the recipient’s identity before handing them the package. Opting for this service ensures that no one else is able to collect the package upon delivery.

However, it’s important to note that this also means the delivery driver will not be able to leave the package on your porch or in front of your doorstep unless you provide a signature.

Some delivery companies offer this option for a small fee while others provide it free of charge. Be sure to contact your delivery service provider and ask them if they offer a “Signature Required” service.

9. Request Delivery to Parcel Lockers or Access Points

As mentioned earlier, some delivery companies offer the option of delivering packages to special secure locations at local businesses or retail outlets they have partnered with.

self collect from parcel locker

For example, FedEx offers dedicated parcel lockers while UPS offers Access Points (which can be partnered retail locations or secured lockers). Having a package sent to a parcel locker offers a range of benefits that make receiving your package more convenient and secure.

One of the key advantages is the added convenience it provides, as they are strategically located in various retail stores, local businesses, and other easily accessible locations. This means that you can choose a location that is nearby and safely collect your package.

Another great benefit of these locations is they offer you more flexibility, as you can pick them up within the holding period. You’ll also have some peace of mind knowing that your package is secure and that it can only be collected upon presenting valid identification.

10. Arrange for Off-Peak Deliveries

Unattended packages are more prone to theft during peak hours and holiday periods. The increased volume of online shopping during holidays leads to a surge in the number of packages being delivered to residential addresses.

This heightened activity presents more opportunities for porch pirates to target unattended packages. The holiday season is also characterized by an elevated level of travel, meaning that many residents are not at home.

This also applies to peak hours of the day, where people are working or spending time outside, with family and friends. This creates a vulnerable environment, as unoccupied homes become attractive targets for thieves looking to exploit the opportunity to steal packages.

Therefore, it may be advantageous to have your package delivered arranged on periods when you are available, or during off-peak hours when package thieves don’t operate as frequently.

11. Install Security Cameras

While installing security cameras near your front door or porch may not directly prevent your packages from being stolen, they can prove to be a great deterrent. Certain studies show that security cameras may reduce crime or theft by up to 50%.

Most porch pirates are cautious about stealing parcels from properties with visible security cameras, as they are afraid to get caught. If you live in an area where your package is more prone to theft, it may be a good idea to install a security camera.

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Agnes Aui

Head of Marketing
at freightcourse

About the Author

Agnes is the Head of Marketing at freightcourse and seamlessly blends her strong background in content management with strategic marketing expertise.

She brings a wealth of knowledge to readers, specializing in various e-commerce topics such as order fulfillments, purchasing, payments, and more.