With Black Friday and the holidays around the corner, this is when we see a boom in online shopping. Unfortunately, with more parcels being delivered, Canadians have seen an increase in package theft directly from their doorsteps. The terms “porch pirates” or “box bandits” refer to individuals who go from house to house with the sole purpose of stealing packages. “Ensuring a safe delivery makes sense year-round, but we know that would-be thieves are especially keen during the holiday season, as there is an increase in purchases. Be sure to take some simple precautions to ensure your purchases make it to the right person this holiday,” says OPP Insp. Commander, Angie McCollum, Community Safety Services. Porch pirates are known to linger on residential streets with high-delivery traffic or in some cases, even follow delivery trucks directly to their destinations.
At isure, we recognize that the holidays are a time for giving and spending time with family. Whether it’s that PlayStation you’ve been yearning for or the latest iPhone, we want to ensure that your Christmas presents and other packages safely end up in the right hands. According to FedEx, a 2019 survey shows that 70% of Canadian online shoppers worry about package theft, and with good reason. That’s why we’ve done the research for you to bring you tips that help better protect your deliveries from porch pirates.
Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) Canadians have been victims of package theft.
Running the numbers
Global comparison site Finder surveyed Canadians and found that 23% have had a run-in with a “porch pirate.” This means an astounding 6.9 million Canadians have been victimized by porch pirates! While nearly 1 in 10 Canadians have had a package worth more than $250 taken, the average value of stolen packages is $113. That’s approximately $784 million worth of products that have been “pirated” from porches across Canada.
Who are the victims of porch pirates?
Some factors have an outsized effect on whether you’ll be a victim of package theft. Age does seem to play a huge role in whether you have experienced package theft:
- 31% of Millennials have had a package taken.
- 28% of Generation Z have had a package taken.
- 16% of those in Generation X have had a package taken.
- 12% of Boomers have experienced this modern-day phenomenon.
Higher salaries = higher incidences of package theft
Not surprisingly, the more you earn seems to predispose you to a greater likelihood of having a package stolen:
- Canadians with a personal income of $100k to $120k are the most likely to experience package theft at 31%.
- Those making $80,000 to $99,000 and $40,000 to $59,000 came in at a close second with 25% experiencing package theft.
- Canadians making $60,000 to $79,000 came in third place with 23% experiencing package theft.
- Just under a quarter of Canadians (23%) making $20,000 to $39,999 had a package stolen.
- Only 16% of Canada’s lowest earners ($20,000 and under) have been the victims of a porch pirate.
How to prevent porch pirates from stealing your packages and gifts
1. Go high-tech with home security
Combat would-be thieves with technology, such as:
- Install a doorbell camera, which allows you to monitor and record any activity at your door. Some are even accessible directly from a smartphone and allow for two-way talking. We suggest purchasing a doorbell with a microphone for the additional function of being able to speak with someone who is approaching your doorstep. Tell a delivery person where to conceal a package or scare off a potential thief by telling them your camera is recording. Overall, a video doorbell provides the peace of mind that a traditional doorbell simply can’t offer. The Ring doorbell has models starting at $99, and the Google Nest Hello doorbell retails for $299.
- Use motion-sensor lights to scare away potential stealers, which is especially helpful for evening deliveries.
- Set up security cameras on the exterior of your home to discourage trespassers wary of being recorded.
2. Track packages or request a signature on delivery
You’ve filled your cart and entered your payment details. It’s now time to choose your shipping details. We suggest that you take a moment to check off “signature required.” This is an option with all the major delivery services, like UPS, FedEx, and DHL. If you’re in a bind and won’t be home to sign for your package, see if your delivery service will let you redirect the package to a trusted neighbour’s address. UPS MyChoice has this option. You can often request a delivery confirmation, too. Becoming a UPS My Choice member is free and gives you greater control over when and where your shipments will be delivered.
3. Ship packages to a secure pick-up destination
Many companies realize that the increase in package theft has become a very real issue. Those affected are grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, delivery companies, and Canada Post (FlexDelivery). These retailers now provide the option to pick up your package directly. Some online retailers provide an alternate pickup location option at checkout. If you’re unsure of what your nearest option is, simply call the location nearest to you and check availability. If all else fails, you can always send your packages to your workplace address after checking with your employer, of course. Most deliveries go out during office hours, so you can ease your paranoia by shipping your packages directly to your office. That way, you know that you’ll be available to sign for it and that the parcel will end up directly in your hands.
4. Get a porch pirate bag or purchase a package lock box
Purchase a package guard or porch pirate bag, which is a nylon bag that locks to your front door or gate. Instruct the courier to place your package inside and close it using the combination lock. Even though the Porch Pirate bag can conceivably be cut open by a persistent thief, it more than likely would be an effective deterrent—and at $35, it’s a relatively affordable experiment. Although costly, it may be worth investing in a porch lock box if your packages are being stolen often. Danby Parcel Guard and The Porch Pod are examples of smart package safes that protect your deliveries from potential tampering and outdoor weather conditions. Retailers also offer the option of curbside pickups.
5. Get Amazon Locker
Amazon offers an option for thwarting porch pirates: an authorized Amazon Locker. Use the online postal code locator to find a locker near you, and use that as your delivery address. It’s free to use—and if you’re a Prime member, you’re eligible for free two-day shipping. Returning a package to Amazon? You can even drop it off here, too!
6. Watch for any unordinary or suspicious behaviour
Although many people have been working remotely from home, not everyone has that option. While you may not be able to monitor your house 24/7, it is helpful to be aware of your surroundings before leaving for work in the morning. Take a look around on your street. If you see someone sitting in their car observing the street or watching your every move, it’s best to contact your local police. Many porch pirates will target areas that they’re familiar with or neighbourhoods that are known to have reoccurring deliveries.
If you have a neighbour or friend that you know is home during the day, the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) suggests that you ask them to help you out. Either have the package sent directly to their doorstep or ask them to swing by and hold onto the item once you know delivery is complete.
8. Utilize ‘shop and pick-up’ options at your favourite retailer
Hudson’s Bay and Best Buy, among other well-known locations, allow you to buy online and pick up your packages from the location nearest to you. You simply place your order as you normally would and pick it up directly from the store once it’s ready.
Package theft is the last thing you want to deal with during the holiday season. We at isure believe that by following these necessary safety measures, you can reduce or eliminate the risk of package theft completely. We hope that these tips provide you with that necessary peace of mind and help to keep you and your deliveries safe and secure.
Be sure to protect the things you value most with proper insurance coverage. Whether you require home, condo, or tenant insurance, isure offers the widest range of coverage options in the market. Speak to an isure broker today for the best coverage, value, and advice.
Wishing you a Happy Holidays and a theft-free online shopping experience!