Preventing porch pirates

In time for some of the busiest delivery days of the year, PEMCO Insurance offers some steps consumers can take to keep porch pirates at bay:

Instruct shippers to deliver packages to a specific location hidden from plain sight. For example, “inside the carport” or “behind the planter box.”

Require a signature before packages can be left. Just realize that if you’re not there to sign, you’ll need to work with the shipping company to reschedule delivery.

Install a lockbox on your front porch or use other technology-enabled security devices to keep your packages safe until you get home.

Ship your order to a trusted neighbor who you know will be home during delivery hours.

Or, if your employer permits it, use your work address rather than your home address for deliveries.

—PR Newswire

While this season can be a happy time for many, it’s also likely to see a rise in crime. With the ease of online shopping, consumers can shop from the comfort of their own homes and have the packages delivered to their door — where the packages are just as easily swiped by so-called “porch pirates.”

According to an article printed by PR Newswire, a press release website, a new poll from PEMCO Insurance found nearly half of the poll participants have had a package stolen from their home. Of those surveyed in Washington and Oregon, 94 percent stated they order items online, and nearly half of those respondents have had packages stolen. Despite those disheartening statistics, many said they don’t do anything to protect their deliveries from thieves.

La Grande’s United States Postal Service Postmaster Kelly Carreiro said his carriers are instructed to leave packages in a place where they can’t be seen by people on the sidewalk.

“In the past, we have seen a high theft rate (of packages during the holidays),” Carreiro said.

He said Amazon packages are usually always left on the porch because the company does not want the carriers to bring the packages back if the homeowner is not there.

“But (Amazon) will take responsibility for any type of loss,” he said.

The deliverer can’t be held liable for a package that is stolen. Carreiro encourages those who have had a theft to report it to the police.

La Grande Police Lt. Gary Bell echoed that.

“Any time someone has been a victim of a crime, we encourage them to file a report,” Bell told The Observer. “If we happen to recover the property, then we’ll know who to get (the items) back to.”

See complete story in Wednesday's Observer