Porch thieves and packages

The Plattsburgh Press-Republican on package thieves

Dec. 21

It’s shocking to learn how low some humans will stoop to compromise others to advance their own situations.

Speaking of stoops, porch pirates are a recent example of that point.

As has been reported in various media this season, thieves who will steal recently delivered packages right off front stoops — “porch pirates,” as police are calling them — are on the increase.

Thieves have rarely shown resourcefulness. Usually, they just wait until somebody else comes up with an idea and then climb aboard the bandwagon. Such is the case with porch pirates.

UPS, FedEx or another service go to doors with a parcel. If it won’t fit in the mailbox or between the doors, the drivers oftentimes leave it on the porch.

Some despicable sneaks, with nothing better to do and no conscience, are patrolling neighborhoods for packages that haven’t yet been taken inside. They grab the parcels and head for cover.

Mind you, that person, utterly devoid of moral sense, has no idea what’s in the package. It’s just there. It belongs to somebody else but might prove remunerative somehow if swiped.

Believe it or not, that has become a frequent-enough crime to earn its way onto network newscasts and the pages of newspapers all over the country.

The onus is partly on the package sender or recipient — if you don’t want it left on the stoop, you can give the delivery service specific instructions.

For example, UPS will hand over the package to the concierge at your apartment house or another individual or hold it at a UPS Service Center to be picked up.

A UPS driver we spoke to told us his rule of thumb is “Out of the weather, out of sight.” A good rule.

Some people are making use of porch surveillance cameras — if thieves dare to dart up and make off with a package, they never know whether they have been caught on video.

And Amazon, which bills itself as the world’s largest mailer of packages, has teamed up with police in Jersey City, N.J., and other locations, in taking the battle to a higher level, which is yielding greater optimism for favorable results.

The two units have combined to plant packages containing GPS devices on porches. When the thieves grab a box and scurry off, they’ll be taking with them an instant announcement of where they are where they’re going.

These kinds of initiatives by the good guys are encouraging and very promising.

They put theft into the realm of extremely risky, since the crooks not only don’t know what they’re stealing, they have no idea whether they’re being recorded or tracked while doing it.

Without proactive steps such as cameras and plants, we will all eventually pay the price, as costs of the things we buy may increase to make up for losses due to theft.

It also points to another wisdom in shopping locally: If you’re carrying the package home instead of having it delivered, it stands a much greater chance of getting and staying there.