How to protect yourself from porch pirates

Local News

Letter carriers and delivery services will drop off an estimated 500 million packages each week during the online shopping season, and that makes the season attractive for thieves.

Electronics, clothes, jewelry, just about anything can be bought online and it gets shipped right to your door. Thieves have figured out that swiping presents off the porch is easy pickings.

Detective Anthony Murphy with the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office says thieves look for certain delivery trucks and getting pretty savvy.

“We’ve had reports where they follow trucks and once they drop off a package on the porch and the truck drives away, they run up and steal the items off the porch,” Murphy said.

And even being caught in the act isn’t enough to deter all criminals, but surveillance cameras do help. Video systems won’t stop thieves, but they do create evidence that makes catching them easier.

“We recently caught some in Canfield Township. They had a camera system. The package was delivered to their house and sure enough, we caught the thieves on camera stealing the package off the porch,” Murphy said. 

A neighbor caught a license plate from the getaway vehicle, and those and those two men are now facing charges in county court.

Tips for keeping your packages safe:

  • Don’t leave packages on the porch for very long. Try to be home when are delivered or get a neighbor to retrieve them
  • Have your mail held at the post office if you will be out of town
  • Use secure delivery options, like registered mail
  • Have the package delivered somewhere else, like your work, the Post Office or a physical UPS or FedEx store

Police say overall, package theft is rare but it is a growing crime.

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