10 Clever Ways to Foil Porch Pirates

Updated: Oct. 11, 2023

More than 25 million Americans have their packages stolen right from their doorsteps by porch pirates each year—don't be one of them.

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Sean Locke Photography/Shutterstock

Require a Signature

When your shopping cart is full, your payment information is entered, and it’s time to choose your shipping details, take a moment to check off “signature required.” This is an option with all the major services, like UPS, FedEx, DHL, and USPS. If you’re in a bind and won’t be home to sign for your package, see if your delivery service will let you redirect the package to a trusted neighbor’s address—UPS MyChoice does this, for instance. You can often request a delivery confirmation, too.

These are the best, inexpensive ways to theft-proof your home.

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Pay for a Package Receiving Service

If you’re hardly ever around to receive packages, consider signing up for a paid service that will receive and protect your packages until you can pick them up. Major delivery services like FedEx and UPS offer locker services internationally, but you probably have a local package receiving center if you live in a big city like New York (see Go Locker and City CoPilot). Of course, you can always rent a USPS post office box, too.

These common home security mistakes can put you at risk.

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Use the Doorman App

If you work a nine-to-five job and want your packages delivered at night, Doorman is the app for you. Your packages will go straight to your local Doorman address—as of now, there are locations in New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago only, but the company is growing. Then, schedule a time from 6 pm to midnight (when you’re home to receive it) to have your package delivered to your door by one of Doorman’s drivers.

Here are DIY home security systems you can install in a day.

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Get a Porch Pirate Bag

Outsmart package thieves with this 30-inch x 40-inch PVC reinforced nylon bag that locks to your front door or gate. Instruct delivery people to drop your package inside, then lock it using the attached combination lock. Even though the Porch Pirate bag could conceivably be cut open by a determined thief, it more than likely would be an effective deterrent—and at $35, it’s a relatively affordable experiment.

Get it on Amazon now.

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Get Amazon Key

If you’re an Amazon Prime member in an eligible location, you can sign up for Amazon Key and have your packages delivered inside your home or vehicle—and despite the name, no key is required. First, you install the Amazon Key Home Kit, which includes a smart lock, security camera and the Amazon Key app. Then you can remotely unlock your door via the app to let the delivery person inside; the camera lets you watch live footage of them coming and going. Postal carriers see these 12 unusual things every day.

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Trong Nguyen/Shutterstock

Get Amazon Locker

Amazon offers a second option for thwarting porch pirates: an authorized Amazon Locker. Use the online zip code locator to find a locker near you, and use that as your delivery address. It’s free to use—and if you’re a Prime member, you’re entitled to free two-day shipping. Returning a package to Amazon? You can even drop it off here, too! These DIY mudroom lockers keep you entryway tidy.

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Buy a Package Guard

This Frisbee-like device is a virtual security guard. Connect it to your WiFi and position it on your doorstep, instructing delivery people to place packages on top of it. If a would-be porch pirate attempts to steal the package or the Package Guard device itself, a loud internal siren will be activated. The only way to deactivate the alarm is via the Package Guard app.

Photo: Courtesy of Package Guard

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Rin Photo/Shutterstock

Set Up a Security Camera

Take your cue from homeowners who’ve caught package thieves red-handed, and install a security camera near your front door. The battery-powered Ring Video Doorbell with night vision is a great choice. If your objective is simply to deter thieves, consider a $13 pair of WALI “dummy” cameras, which look incredibly realistic. Learn how to install surveillance cameras.

Get the doorbell now.

Buy the faux security camera on Amazon.

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Baxia Technology

Install Motion Detector Lights

Porch pirates don’t take well to the spotlight, so deter them with motion-sensor lights. Amazon sells plenty of popular systems, like this one by Baxia Technology that has more than 800 five-star reviews.

Here’s how to choose and install motion-sensor lighting.

Get motion lights today.

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Install a Home Security System

When you install a whole-home security system to thwart would-be home invaders, porch pirates are likely to be scared off just by the sticker in your window. A recent study revealed that homes without them are 300 times more likely to be vandalized. Ring, Honeywell, and ADT are among the best brands on the market, according to Consumer Reports.

These are your options when it comes to buying and installing home security systems.

Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.