Probably 10 years, even five years ago, this was not as a big a problem as it is today. In fact, nobody really knew what a "porch pirate" was until now. Here's how to prevent them from getting your deliveries.

Over the last few years, especially due to the explosion of online shopping, there's been a steep rise in the number of thefts of deliveries off people's porches and steps. That's why the term porch pirate has become commonly used in our vernacular.

Porch pirates are simply people who steal delivery items from homes before the occupants have a chance to retrieve them.

Many of these folks are rather sophisticated. They actually cruise through neighborhoods looking for such boxes on the steps. Then, it's grab and go time. They figure most people are at work, and nobody is home, and usually they are correct.

So here's some tips, courtesy of PEMCO Insurance and security experts, here's some ideas for prevention and even some devices that help:

  • If your employer will allow it, use your work address for deliveries. That eliminates any chance somebody will steal your items before you get home from work.
  • If you must deliver at home, leave detailed instructions to the delivery person to place the package in a 'hidden' or inconspicuous location such as behind a bush or behind a garage. They will do that within reason.
  • Require a signature upon delivery. Of course if you're not home that means a reschedule. But that beats a theft.
  • Utilize any one of a number of security tools. Package Guard is from a Seattle-based tech company. It's a disc the size of a Frisbee with the words "place package here."  When the box is placed on top, it sends a wi-fi signal to your phone alerting you something has been delivered. Amazon has it's "Locker" program in selected cities, where you can actually pick up or return Amazon products using secured locking facilities and containers.