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'It's a violation' | 'Tis the season for an increase in porch pirate thefts

About one out of four Americans say they have been victims of package theft this year

STOCKTON, California — 'Tis the season for gift giving, gift receiving and gift stealing, and, according to a survey by C+R Research, nearly one out of four Americans say they have been victims of package theft this year.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and ease of shopping from home, more and more buyers are purchasing from the convenience of their computers instead of going into a brick and mortar store.

"Usually starts right before Thanksgiving that we usually see these types of package thefts that occur when these porch pirates are just out targeting people and their package," Stockton police spokesman Officer Joe Silva said.

Silva says the Stockton Police Department doesn't keep statistics for package thefts, but adds they have no shortage of video examples of porch pirate thievery to show on their Facebook page.

"I work with disabled children and adults, so when people are stealing from me, it's not just me. It's also from people I work with," said a woman in Stockton, who was a victim of porch pirates last December. "I was pissed. It's a violation."

They stole a prized Mexican folk art sculpture that she purchased online. Despite video she captured with her security camera, no arrests were made.

Another woman in Stockton who also did not want to be identified said she is a neighborhood watch captain where she lives. She says her Ring doorbell camera consistently captures images of porch pirates stealing on a weekly basis. She posts her photos and video on social media and neighborhood apps.

"It's just nice to put be able to, if we got pictures of cars or the people, to put it out there because there's always someone that knows the person," she said.

As far as protecting yourself, law enforcement suggests installing a video doorbell, using motion-activated lights, and having your package delivered to your work or to the home of a relative or friend that you know will be home.

Another tip when you have your delivery made is to get to know your neighbors. So, when that package arrives, they know it's coming and so will you.

"So, they always watch out for me. They let me know. As soon as they see it, they text me. They'll bring it up to their door," said the woman victimized last year by porch pirates.


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