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Protect your delivered packages from porch pirates

Posted at 5:29 AM, Nov 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-20 09:50:13-05

Porch pirates can ruin your holidays in a flash.

Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast have had their fair share of thieves stealing packages off front porches. Sometimes, they are caught on camera.

"It's one thing where you go into a bank and rob a bank. It's one thing to go into a mall and shoplift. These porch pirates literally walk up to a front door when no one is home and take a box with zero resistance," West Palm Beach Crime Prevention Officer Seth Buxton said.

He offered these top five ways to protect your delivered packages:

1. Amazon lockers

There are five in the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast: Boca Raton, Wellington, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens and Port St. Lucie.   

When you order online, request a code and it will be sent to your phone.

Punch that code in at the locker, then get your package.

Sending packages back is safe as well.

“You don't have to leave the return label on the box sitting on your porch all day while you're at work. You can bring it back to the lockbox, leave it there and facilitate your returns as well,” said Buxton.

2. Video doorbells like Ring or Nest

"Having video of the bad guy always helps. And the big thing is it notifies you right away to your phone, it sends you an alert," said Buxton.

These don't just catch video and audio of the porch pirates. Many link up to the Neighbors app. This lets you post video from your camera to notify neighbors of any suspicious activity in the neighborhood.          

3. Vacation hold on your mail

The U.S. Postal Service will hold your mail for three to 30 days. You can even have all of it delivered to your home once you're back. You can set up this service with your smartphone.

4. Package Guard

For about $70 this device lets the delivery service place the package on a Frisbee-type device.

This process activates a text to your phone. If someone takes the package off the device an alarm sounds and you are sent another alert.

5. A lockbox 

A bit more pricey than the previous four options, the boxes can cost more than $100, but protecting your investment could be worth it.

Tell you delivery service to place it in a box, and then lock up a padlock that you leave on the box.

You can also use a lockbox that has a combination lock installed within it.

Instruct the delivery service drop it in the box, then open it with a code lock only you know.