Stopping porch pirates

DELAVAN — It’s the season for porch-pirating, and thieves have been active throughout Wisconsin, according to law enforcement.

Porch pirates were working the west side of the small southern Wisconsin community of Delavan and outlying areas, police warned Thursday in a social media post.

They’re asking residents to report anyone suspicious.

Police say they they recovered empty packages that were dumped and officers are following up looking for leads.

One way to avoid theft is to have your packages shipped to a business pickup location like a UPS Store or Amazon Locker location.

For Amazon packages, people can choose an Amazon Pickup location when selecting a shipping address during checkout. Most Dollar Tree stores have an Amazon locker where packages can be delivered.

According to the Better Business Bureau, following tips to prevent package thieves from stealing your deliveries.

  • Check with neighbors. Sometimes, your package may not be stolen simply at the wrong address. Before filing a report or contacting the sender, check with your neighbors and see if the delivery service may have dropped off your package at the wrong address. Many delivery companies will take pictures of your package in the designated location – be sure to check for the photo and verify it is at the right spot.
  • Don’t leave unattended packages. When possible, do not leave delivered packages unattended for long periods. If you are expecting a package, attempt to schedule its delivery when you know you will be home. Ask your neighbors if they mind holding on to packages delivered if you plan to be gone for an extended time.
  • Ship to store. If purchasing an item from a retailer with a physical location near your home, consider shipping it there instead. Retailers will require proof of purchase or identification before releasing packages they have received, and this is a sure way to avoid porch pirates.
  • Use a security camera. Installing a home security system with cameras or a camera-enabled doorbell is a great way to deter package theft, especially when highly visible. Consider including a sign that specifically states that the residence is under surveillance. Even if a package is stolen from your porch, the video evidence will help law enforcement track down the thieves (but be wary of the risk of internet-connected devices and research before you purchase).
  • Require a signature. Many delivery companies include the option to require a signature before leaving a package, letting you take physical possession of the item as soon as it is delivered. While this option works well for those often at home, especially for expensive items, it may create difficulties in receiving packages if your schedule and the delivery service differ. Be sure to check with the delivery company on their policy for packages that are not signed for; they may return it to the sender after a certain number of attempts.
  • Consider a package receiving service. Some major retailers, such as Amazon, offer secure package-receiving locations away from your home that you can access with a key or code. Some independent businesses also specialize in this service, allowing you to designate a different delivery location for your packages and the ability to pick them up on your way home.



By staff