How to protect yourself from porch pirates during the holidays

Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 5:40 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The busiest shopping season of the year is here, and many purchases will be made online. But the packages delivered to customers’ front doors are vulnerable to thieves on the prowl.

Recently, a thief was caught on surveillance camera stealing $100 worth of wine from Kara Brennan’s front porch in Dogtown.

“Within seconds, the package was completely gone,” she said.

According to a SmartWise survey, 14% of households in the U.S. have been the victim of package theft. According to the same survey, the average cost of stolen items was $112.30. And 51% of those surveyed said they had stayed home on a day when a package was scheduled to be delivered.

You can take steps to reduce your risk of being a victim. Packages shipped by UPS can be sent to a CVS Pharmacy and picked up after work. Likewise, packages shipped by FedEx can be sent to a nearby Walgreens Pharmacy.

When ordering items from Amazon, a customer can click on “see nearby pickup locations” and choose to have the package delivered to a nearby Amazon Hub location. Those stores will receive packages and keep them locked up until a customer picks them up.

Tony Phipps is with Airedale Antics, a pet supply and grooming business in Maplewood, that is an Amazon Hub location.

“We have some people come in and had several packages disappear. We’ve had others who said they didn’t really have any packages disappear and were just doing it for safety purposes or they weren’t home most of the time and heard of it,” said Phipps.

Here are a few other tips for reducing your risk of being the victim of a porch package thief:

Have the package delivered to a trusted neighbor who’ll be home. Have the package delivered to where you work, if permitted. Stay home on the scheduled delivery date. And specify delivery directions to have the package placed out of sight, behind a chair or a bush.