Want to keep porch pirates at bay this holiday season? Northwest Arkansas police officials have tips

An Amazon package containing a GPS tracker is shown on the porch of a Jersey City, N.J., residence after its delivery in this Dec. 11, 2018, file photo. (AP/Robert Bumsted)
An Amazon package containing a GPS tracker is shown on the porch of a Jersey City, N.J., residence after its delivery in this Dec. 11, 2018, file photo. (AP/Robert Bumsted)

Police warn a certain kind of Grinch is out to steal Christmas during the holiday season: porch pirates.

According to InsuranceQuotes.com's 2023 Porch Pirates and Holiday Shopping Report, 24% of Americans have had a delivered package stolen from their porch or doorstep.

"Porch piracy has remained an area of widespread concern for every year that we have conducted our survey on package theft and holiday shopping," Michael Giusti, an InsuranceQuotes.com analyst and author of the report, said in a news release. "With porch pirates out in force, shippers and security experts say a few common sense measures can at least cut out some of the opportunistic thefts."

Sgt. Anthony Murphy with Fayetteville's Police Department said there's definitely an increase in package thefts over the holidays. However, he said the department doesn't directly track porch pirate incidents.

Murphy recommended people require a signature for package delivery or use community delivery boxes or single-home lockboxes.

He said people can have packages delivered to their workplace or have a neighbor pick up their packages, especially if they're out of town.

Capt. Derek Spicer with the Siloam Springs Police Department said police typically see a rise in both attempts and actual package thefts.

Spicer also recommended people have packages shipped to them at work or enlist neighbors to watch for packages as they arrive. Cameras may also help deter someone from stealing packages, he said.

Spicer recommended people keep the porch clear and visible.

"If there is a back or side door that is accessible, you can place a note on the door asking them to place them there," he said.

The state increased the punishment for thieves who swipe packages off porches in 2021. Arkansas Act 340 of 2021 makes it a Class D felony to steal a package delivered by the U.S. Postal Service from the porch or premises of a residence. The offense had been a misdemeanor.

Murphy said the increased penalty for the crime, along with education and increased home surveillance, has probably helped decrease the number of package theft incidents overall even though it may increase in December.

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