Tips to prevent porch pirates from nabbing packages

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The holiday season is upon us, which means online shopping is in full swing. However, that also means it’s the busiest time of the year for porch pirates.

For thieves, it’s not the season of giving, but the season of taking.

“I mean it’s way cheaper sometimes to order from these online places, but you take a terrible risk,” said Nohelani Octubre, who recently ordered Christmas decorations off Amazon.

Octubre said she was at work Tuesday when she saw her order being delivered through he home security camera’s app.

An hour-and-a-half later, she received another motion-activated notification, but this time she saw a stranger on her front door step.

“I looked and I thought I would see someone walking their dog or just kind of the average thing that I see like feet walking past my door, and no it was feet walking onto my porch and stealing my packages,” Octubre explained.

A UPS store owner who has been in the industry for 26 years said times have changed.

“26 years ago it was unheard of, and now it’s common,” said Larry Adler.

Adler said if you know you’re not going to be home, you can have your packages dropped off at any “access point,” which are usually local businesses where you can pick it up later.

He also encourages people to rent a mailbox at a UPS store if they are concerned about porch pirates.

“We can text or email you when the package comes so you know it’s here,” Adler said about why the UPS mailboxes are safer.

Sgt. Chris Kim with Honolulu CrimeStoppers said consumers can take action.

“Unfortunately, we hear all these stories about these porch pirates and people’s belongings being stolen and I think we just need to be a little bit smarter about it now,” Sgt. Kim said.

Sgt. Kim suggested doing the follow:

  • Control when and where packages are delivered
  • Have items delivered to trusted neighbor
  • Input special delivery instructions

He added that doorbell cameras can deter thieves.

“The crooks are going to see it and they may think twice,” he said. “It’d be theft. If you’re caught on video surveillance stealing the packages,” Sgt. Kim added about the benefit to having a doorbell camera.

Homeowner David Kim said having a Ring camera makes him and his family feel safer.

“It allows us to be able to view the front of our house when we’re not home,” Kim said. “We also like the fact that we’re able to interact with let’s say the postman, UPS drivers.”

Octubre was planning on putting up the Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving, but since those packages went missing, she has to wait.

As a busy, hard-working mom, Octubre has a message for package thieves.

“I can replace the gifts, but I had memories I planned on making with my kids tonight. Now I have to wait a week. Who knows what next week holds,” she said.

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