Citizens are expected to spend nearly $150 billion in online shopping this holiday season. Law enforcement says its an optimum time for porch pirates to hit your doorstep. Jacksonville Police Chief Adam Mefford says its an easy temptation for thieves when they see gifts on your doorstep. He says it only takes seconds for someone to jump off of a bicycle or out of a car to steal packages.
Mefford says the biggest key to avoid porch piracy is delivery time and place. He says that most delivery services will allow you to schedule a drop-off time when you are present at your home. He says that if you can’t find a convenient time at your residence to check with your place of employment, a neighbor’s house, or a family member so you can have packages dropped off there to ensure that they will be picked up and not stolen.
Mefford says that gift thieves won’t just strike your porch stoop. He says that keeping an eye on your purchases need to happen at all times. He says he has seen gift thieves steal packages and bags directly out of a person’s front car seat or out of a trunk. Mefford says the best thing to do is to put things out of plain sight.
Mefford says to have as much information about your gifts as possible in case they are taken off your porch or out of your car. “Obviously, if you have anything stolen, you need to file a police report. Being able to provide as much information on the item you ordered is vitally important to us in the event that we may be able to track down your stolen items. For example, electronics have serial numbers and bar codes. Documenting that information during ordering so you can provide that information for the officers to follow up on helps. Some people have porch cameras or door bell cameras. It’s important that you check those and make sure they are working properly. It’s not any good to have a camera that doesn’t record anything.”
Mefford said that last year the police made a handful of arrests in connection to gift thieves and porch pirates. He says that if a potential porch pirate is caught, they will go to jail.