Canadian Security Magazine

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Fight back against porch pirates


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Mark Seenarine

The practice of porch piracy — thieves swiping consumer packages from doorsteps before their rightful owners can bring them safely into their homes — is on the rise. Here are some steps you can take to mitigate this type of theft, and what you can do if you become a victim.

 

Best practices:

  • Monitor communications from the retailer you purchased from for shipping status, ship time, arrival time, as well as photos from delivery personnel of packages placed in front of your door upon arrival. Minimize the time the package is left unattended.
  • Redirect high value packages to a Post Office Box.
  • Install a Parcel Guard Smart Mailbox at the front of your home or request package drop off in the garage, side garden or backyard (a more secure location).
  • There are cost-effective CCTV camera companies that can install day/night cameras, with 14 to 30 days video retention and mobile app to ensure your package is always on camera. Cameras will assist with any potential investigations and serve as a deterrent. Cameras should not solely be relied upon to prevent theft nor do they always identify criminals. You can also utilize web-based doorbell devices that provides immediate notification and a video camera.
  • It’s encouraged to create a trusted network and communication tool (WhatsApp, text or email group) to report suspicious activity as a neighbourhood watch.

Reporting and investigating missing packages:

  • Contact your purchase retailer, as the package could have been delivered to the wrong location, still in transit or lost in transit.
  • Review your own CCTV or if applicable, contact your building management to start an investigation to review video and building logs.
  • Know your municipal police non-emergency contacts and online reporting portals for theft.

Additional considerations for condominiums and rental buildings:

  • Is there a space or location for secured storage?
  • Does your building have adequate CCTV camera coverage to monitor the continuity of the package, from delivery to owner?
  • Does an on-site security guard or concierge personnel accept the package in the lobby entrance? Or are packages left unattended in the lobby area or in front of your unit?
  • Does your building have amenities/package tracking software? There are several software options available to property management.
  • Due to the recent increase in online shopping, some buildings are allowing delivery drivers to go directly to the floor/unit and leave the package in the hallway in front of the owners’ door. Building managers are also considering installing CCTV cameras on each floor and increasing security guard patrols.

*Friendly reminder to break down your packages/boxes and recycle. Remember to first remove shipping/address labels to protect your personal identifiable information.

Mark Seenarine is manager, corporate security & loss prevention, Canadian Tire Corp.

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