Preventing package theft this holiday season

The holidays bring excitement surrounding gift-giving, but it also prompts a surge in package theft from the doorsteps of homes and apartments. Last holiday season, about eight out of every 10 Americans had packages stolen according to Forbes. As we celebrate the holidays in the Near West Side, it is important to take precautions to protect packages from being stolen by potential “porch pirates.”  

“Porch pirates” are people who steal packages from doorsteps. As online shopping has become more prevalent over the years, thieves have taken advantage of online shoppers. This phenomenon is not limited to the holiday season and can be frustrating, but there are measures you can take to keep your purchases safe. 

“Now these porch pirates used to come out just during the holiday season but now it seems they are active year-round, and no neighborhood is safe from them,” says Jeffrey Kranz, assistant chief in the Marquette University Police Department. “With the use of private delivery services that don’t wear uniforms, it has also become harder to spot a porch pirate than it used to be.”

Assistant Chief Kranz offers eight tips to keep your deliveries safe: 

  1. Security cameras serve as a deterrent, but their effectiveness is often limited to capturing incidents of package theft.
  1. Tracking your package delivery status and turning on drop-off notifications are crucial for prompt reception. 
  1. If you have the option, consider shipping packages to your workplace. 
  1. A P.O. Box at a post office can provide a secure alternative for receiving packages and reduce exposure to potential theft.
  1. Utilize local businesses that offer lockers as designated package drop-off points.
  1. Refrain from having packages delivered during travel or periods where they will be left unattended for an extended duration.
  1. Try constructing or purchasing a dedicated drop-off box.
  1. Consider protecting valuable shipments by opting for package insurance.

Amazon lockers are also a secure way to receive packages. There are two sets of lockers on Marquette’s campus — near Cobeen Hall and inside 7-Eleven — designed for the secure pickup and return of Amazon packages. 

By taking these proactive steps this holiday season, you can reduce and prevent package theft. Community members need to work together to ensure that package theft does not impede holiday cheer. 

“Agree to grab packages when you see them on each other’s porches,” instructs Assistant Chief Kranz. “These type of interactions will lead to a stronger and safer community.”