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'Porch Pirates' Seize a Holiday Theft Opportunity

Survey of older adults indicates a rise in stolen parcels during the holiday season

package at front door

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"Porch pirates,” who stealthily grab delivered packages off doorsteps, are putting a damper on the holiday spirit, a new survey indicates.  

Eight percent of people ages 55 to 64 and 6 percent of those 65 and older say they’ve had parcels stolen from right outside their home, according to the survey of 1,001 Americans, conducted by research firm SSRS on behalf of insurance-rate-comparisons website 

Porch piracy seems to be rising along with consumers’ increasing reliance on e-commerce delivery services, observed analyst Nick DiUlio. “The more packages there are on porches means more opportunities for theft,” he said. 

DiUlio suggests that consumers think about installing porch cameras or using a service such as BoxLock or Landport, which provides a secure storage box on the porch. Amazon Key, an electronic lock that allows delivery workers to put packages inside the home, is another option. In addition, people should consider longtime precautions, including asking neighbors or nearby family members to keep watch for suspicious activity and to pick up deliveries when they’re away from home, DiUlio said. 

The poll also contained data on other common seasonal hazards.

  • Five percent of the 55-and-older adults surveyed said they've had decorations stolen or vandalized, and 7 percent have suffered holiday-related home fires caused by cooking, candles or Christmas trees.
  • Nearly a third of older people have slipped on ice, and 14 percent of Americans 55 to 64 and 9 percent of those 65 and older have had weather-related auto accidents during the holiday season.

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