Can "Porch Pirates" be Thwarted?

Posted By: Tiffany Van Buren Housing Provider Tips,

Around 260 million packages disappeared from porches across the US over the last year, according to a survey conducted by, with the cities of the San Francisco Bay Area ranking as having the most porch piracy in the whole state despite California coming in as the 11th most worrisome state overall. Online shopping continues to hold strong, with one in five households having packages delivered at least once a week, some several times a week. Package theft is a crime of opportunity, and with statistics like that, there are opportunities aplenty.  What’s more, the risk is very low since police have more serious crime to attend to than chasing down your Amazon package — so it’s up to end consumer to mitigate the risk of package theft.


How do I prevent package theft, you ask? There are several things you can do! Feel free to pass these suggestions along to your residents; no one is immune from Porch Pirates.

  • Track your packages: Sign up for tracking alerts so you know when to expect your parcel and even get an immediate alert when it’s been delivered.
  • Arrange for ”sign on delivery”: If you’re not home to sign for your package, the carrier doesn’t leave it.
  • Use an Amazon Locker: There are eight publicly accessible locations in Berkeley, and nearby in Oakland (at Safeway on College), they’re open 24 hours a day.
  • Use your work address: Have a parcel sent to your workplace if that’s where you are during normal delivery hours.
  • Use a friend’s address: Do you have a work-from-home friend? Buy them a gift card to their favorite coffee shop in exchange for allowing you to have your parcels shipped to their address.
  • Choose to pick-up from the carrier: UPS and FedEx both offer this as an option, as does the USPS.
  • Sign up for Informed Delivery: Offered for free by the USPS, you will receive a daily email with scans of that day’s mail and tracking numbers for any packages handled by USPS.
  • Keep packages hidden from view: Parcel lockers for porches are expensive, but sometimes all you need to do is have something on your porch that shields your parcels from view. Be creative; a plant, a bamboo mat screen — anything that obscures cardboard a bit so it doesn’t scream “grab me.”
  • Install doorbell cameras: The Google Nest Doorbell (rechargeable battery-version) can be coupled with a mounting plate (both are sold on Amazon) and attached to the front door with a wingnut! It is wi-fi ready, easily removable for charging and requires no drilling. Sometimes a camera gives us a little added peace of mind, even if it won’t deter 100% of thieves 100% of the time. It won’t damage your property, your tenant can invest in it with their own money, and they can take it with them when they move.