Technology

COVID-19 Pandemic Proving Irresistible to Porch Pirates

Every November the news is replete with stories warning people of the potential for porch piracy during the busy Christmas shopping season. Well, it turns out that porch pirates do not have to wait until December to get their games back on. Many of them are finding the COVID-19 pandemic irresistible in the opportunities it presents.

A case in point is an Austin, Texas neighborhood that is currently being victimized by a serial porch pirate. According to CBS Austin, one of the thief’s victims checked video footage from her doorbell after a recent theft. The footage showed an Amazon delivery driver leave a package on her porch. As soon as the truck pulled away, a car arrived. A female got out, went up to the porch, and stole the package.

The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously led to an increase in online sales. That means more home deliveries from companies like Amazon, UPS, and Federal Express. So many more packages are proving hard to resist for some porch pirates. The fact that they are harming people in the midst of an already trying situation doesn’t seem to bother them.

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Recording All the Action

Austin residents know they are being targeted by the same thief because they can see her on video footage. Homeowners with video doorbells and standalone video cameras alike are watching this woman in all her glory. It is extremely frustrating for them. They know they are being targeted, and she knows they know.

Video surveillance cameras are a good way to monitor the front door in this day and age, explains Vivint Smart Home. However, it is gradually becoming more apparent that surveillance is not a strong enough deterrent to porch piracy. Thieves have learned to spot cameras. Now they simply hide their faces on approach.

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Thieves are also wising up to street views. They know video doorbells often have a wide enough angle to record their cars. So instead of parking in front of a victim’s house, they park a few houses away or around the corner.

Yes, video cameras record all the action as it takes place. But that might not be enough anymore. Homeowners should probably start thinking about additional measures.

A Few Other Options

Video cameras and doorbells are still a good idea. But to stop porch piracy, there are some other options homeowners might find useful. First is the package safe. This is a heavy-duty safe attached to the porch or the wall of the home. You provide the delivery company with a combination so that they can place packages in the safe.

Another option is to give delivery drivers access to your home via a smart lock with a keypad. A lot of homeowners do not like this idea and for good reason. But if you trust the delivery drivers you normally interact with, giving them access is an option.

Of course, there are other options that do not rely on technology. For example, you can arrange to have your packages dropped off at a neighbor’s house. The neighbor can take them inside immediately upon receipt. You collect them when you get home from work.

You can also arrange to have packages left in a garage or shed. You can request that packages be taken around to rear of the home and left on an enclosed porch. The idea is to put packages in locations that cannot be seen from the street.

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The COVID-19 pandemic is creating more opportunities for porch pirates. Just ask the folks in Austin, Texas. They know all too well that serial porch piracy is a real crime.

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