Former Cop Explains How To Prevent Christmas Porch Pirates

This year, millions of Americans have had packages taken from their front doors by porch pirates. Dennis Farris, a former police officer, discussed the most effective solutions to ensure that holiday gifts make it inside American homes safely.

According to Farris, who served as a police officer in Austin, Texas for 25 years and is currently president of the Austin Police Retired Officers Association, Amazon Key is the first way to deter porch pirates. An Amazon delivery person can drop a package in the garage.

“It’s a one-time code and it alerts you when the garage doors open and alerts you when the garage door’s closed,” Farris said. “It only works one time and then the next time it would be a different code, so it’s not like the guy that’s delivering your package could just come back.”

Many customers are skeptical about giving strangers access to their garage, so Farris suggested installing a lockbox on the front porch with a one-time access code that can be provided to the delivery service.

“Most people get packages that are relatively small, so you can get a small lockable box that you could put on your front porch and put a combination lock on it and in the delivery instructions you can say there’s a lock box on the front porch and put down the combination,” Farris said.

Also, Farris suggested that Americans concerned about porch pirates should use Amazon lockers at 7-Eleven and other local establishments.

“The only foolproof way to keep your packages from getting stolen is using a secondary location that you have to have a code to open the locker of,” Farris said. “That’s realistically the only way not to get your stuff stolen.”

Farris said that people who could not use those options should consider a Ring doorbell camera or video surveillance on their front porch so they’ll at least “have an idea” who took the missing package.

Farris also advised not to leave packages lying around. If possible, schedule your packages for delivery during the afternoon when someone would be home or ask the delivery driver to hide them somewhere on the porch.

Austin, Texas, ranked third in a Safewise study behind San Francisco, California, and Seattle, Washington, for package thefts.