Seven Useful Steps to Ward Off Porch Pirates

Front porch of home with yellow doors and pink tulips Wilcox Electric DC

bigstock-House-Porch-With-Flowers-614334Anyone who has purchased something online knows that packages delivered and left on porches and doorsteps are vulnerable to theft. But the Washington, DC metropolitan area does not in fact have one of the higher rates of package theft. Read below to find out which are the top three states that do have the highest rates, along with seven helpful suggestions to keep your packages safe.

You are not alone if you've experienced the disappearance of an online delivery. One survey shows that 19% of homeowners in the U.S. have been victims of package theft. You may be surprised to know that the Washington, DC metropolitan area does not rank among the areas with the highest rates of package theft. Instead, the three top states are Wyoming, Vermont, and California, each with over seven thefts annually per 100,000 people. Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina were the three states with the lowest rates, each with less than two thefts per 100,000 people.

So, even if we don't live in one of the regions with the highest rates of package theft, what can be done to deter the package theft that we do experience? Here are some suggestions you might consider:

1. Install a SMART Doorbell

There are many doorbells on the market that include a motion-activated camera. If someone approaches your front door intending to steal your packages, the doorbell’s camera will capture them in the act. These SMART devices can also send alerts to your phone and even allow you to speak through the device to anyone on the front porch, whether you are home or not.

2. Invest in Security Cameras

Look for cameras that include motion detection and recording ability. If you are the victim of a porch thief, a camera can assist authorities in capturing the offenders. Often, security cameras are a deterrent to thieves just by being visible on the home.

3. Consider Upgrading Your Mailbox

If you prefer having your packages stored in a locked container, a locking mailbox or porch locker might be your best solution. These mailboxes come in different sizes, some of which can handle larger packages. If you receive shipments from USPS, make sure the mailbox you choose is USPS approved.

4. Get to Know Your Neighbors

Sometimes, the easiest way to protect against theft is to have a good relationship with your neighbors. If you expect a package but will be away from home, let your neighbor know to be on the lookout. Or, ask if you can have the delivery diverted to their home instead.  

5. Make Sure to Track It

Delivery services offer tracking on most deliveries, and this is a fantastic way to ensure your package is delivered safely. UPS and FedEx provide services that will alert you when your parcel is a few stops away, allowing you to monitor the delivery or make it home in time to receive the package.

6. When in Doubt, Pick It Up in Person

If you are expecting a high-price item, it may be safest to pick up the delivery in person. If you have locker facilities in your area, such as Amazon lockboxes or a UPS store, your item can be delivered safely and picked up by you at your convenience. 

7. Leave Clear Delivery Instructions

If you have no other choice but to have your packages delivered to your home, most online retailers will allow you to leave delivery instructions at the time of purchase. Your packages may be safer if left in a gated back yard area instead of on your front porch. Most porch thieves are looking for an easy grab and go and will not risk venturing into a back yard.


Online shopping is a convenient way to quickly work through your shopping list. Following the above tips can keep your packages from growing feet. If you would like to discuss SMART device installation and programming, contact us at Wilcox Electric. We're experts in installation of SMART home technology