Beware of ‘Porch Pirates’


It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…for thieves and for nefarious activity that is.

This is a busy time of year for UPS, FedEx, and USPS. But beware, porch pirates are watching those deliveries. It is up to all of us to be especially watchful if there is suspicious activity in the
neighborhood. People driving-by slowly or perhaps cars following delivery trucks are just some of the things to watch for.

Videos on the evening news of incidents across the country show suspects brazenly making off with  other people’s packages.

At the end of October it was reported that the LAPD busted a sophisticated package-theft ring that preyed on homeowners in the San Fernando Valley. But as we all know, ANYTHING, can happen anywhere. Authorities said the thieves used a delivery service’s smartphone app to follow trucks delivering packages. The thieves would wait for the packages to be delivered and then scoop them up moments later. Thieves were so brazen that according to KCAL 9, the LAPD came up with a name for them: “porch pirates.”

Police offer the following tips to protect residents from Porch Pirates:

Have packages delivered to locations where a person is home
Have packages delivered to the vendor’s local store for pick up
Have packages held by the delivery company for personal pick up
Ask for notification when package is delivered so you can have a trusted neighbor pick up for you
Add delivery instructions like, requiring a signature upon delivery
Get to know your delivery people, if you can, and ask them to place packages behind fences or in patios, anywhere less obvious than by front doors

Police warn that most porch pirating occurs during the day when residents are away, and the thieves are often involved in identify theft in addition to taking parcels. Neighbors working together can harden the target against porch pirates.

Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Online tips may be placed at, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.

About 10 percent of Americans say they’ve been a victim of package theft, according to the website Dont’ be a victim.

– By Joseph Martinez

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