Porch pirates are similar to the pirates of the old days, taking valuable treasure that doesn’t belong to them. However, instead of wearing eyepatches and going after gold, modern porch pirates steal delivered packages right from your front door. These thieves target a variety of locations—from apartment complexes to suburban neighborhoods—and are difficult to catch.
Porch pirating is increasing as consumers move online, buying high-end goods and electronics from e-commerce sites. Additionally, there’s an increase in porch pirating during the holidays as gifts are delivered to homes nationwide.
To help holiday shoppers across the country, the Advisor Team analyzed the states with the highest interest in porch piracy-related search terms in the month of December, assessing more than five years of Google Trends data.
Colorado had the highest interest in porch piracy-related keywords, showing the highest search volume for terms like “package theft,” “package stolen” and “package thief” from December 2016 to December 2020. Colorado’s northern neighbor, Montana, had the second-highest search volume for related keywords throughout the same five-year period. The three other states that rounded out the top five include Washington, Arkansas and Wisconsin.
The state of Kansas showed the least interest in porch piracy, logging no activity for all related keywords. The Northeast also fared well against porch piracy, with Maine, Vermont and New York all at the bottom of our list for states with the least amount of porch piracy search volume.
How to Keep Your Packages Safe During the Holidays
While falling victim to porch pirating is common in many areas across the country, there are a few ways you can protect your home, including:
- Keep track of your packages—Many online retailers provide status updates to help you track your package’s location. Some businesses, including Amazon, will send you an email or confirmation photo to let you know when your package is delivered.
- Install home security equipment—There are many home security solutions available to combat porch piracy. Some of the most popular include outdoor video cameras and video doorbells. These devices can help deter potential intruders and capture footage of the porch pirate if an incident occurs.
- Use a secure package receiving location—If you’re experiencing porch piracy in your neighborhood, using a secure drop box at a participating location can help protect your deliveries. Some of the most popular services are Amazon lockers, which are located in convenience stores and malls.
- Reroute packages when you’re out of town—An alternative to sending your packages to a locker is sending them to a different address, such as a parent’s or friend’s house. You can also ask a neighbor or trusted friend to pick up your package while you’re away if you don’t want to reroute your packages.
- Give specific delivery instructions—Many retailers allow you to give custom delivery instructions to drivers. This can include describing specific locations around your home or apartment so that the driver can place your package in a more secure area.
To find the states with the worst holiday porch pirate problems, the Advisor Team analyzed the search volume for the following Google Trends terms:
- “Porch pirate”
- “Package theft”
- “Package stolen”
- “Package thief”
Data was pulled from the month of December in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 for each of the 50 states (including the District of Columbia). To find the number of reported “Larceny – Theft” arrests from 2016 to 2020, data was pulled from the FBI Crime Data Reporter for each of the 50 states.