Skip to content

‘A porch pirate swiped my package while I was still home,’ says Burnaby resident

Local residents warn about delivery issues adding to the problem
porch pirate
A man stealing everything from a Burnaby resident's mailbox.

This is a follow up to a recent NOW story about ‘porch pirates’ stealing packages from people’s homes – right off their doorsteps.

Some residents say the packages are sometimes stolen while they are still at home.

Terry says one issue is that delivery services don’t always let people know that the package has been delivered, meaning it can sit out all day just waiting to be stolen.

“By the time I went out to check - because I was wondering why it hadn’t arrived yet - it was gone,” said Terry, about a theft from last winter. “It was unsettling to think I could have accidentally confronted them. I shouldn’t have to keep checking every hour just to see if it’s arrived.”

Linda wrote in about a near-miss involving a delivery.

“I waited all day for delivery. To my surprise, my neighbour buzzed me at 8:30 p.m. to say there was a package on my doormat. I've attached a photo the driver posted on the ‘Track Parcel’ page. Under the photo was a caption – ‘Tell us what you think of this photo.’ I did - I told them I think I'd prefer that the driver rang my buzzer to let me know the package was on my doormat. I never heard back. On the Track Parcel page, it indicated the parcel was delivered at 5:50 p.m. Had it not been for my neighbour, the package would have sat there overnight until my husband went out for the newspaper the next morning.”

Despite more people working from home and generally being around the house to receive a package if it is delivered, a recent FedEx survey found that one in three online shoppers say they have experienced package theft. 

BBB said it is receiving reports from online shoppers who thought they were scammed by an online retailer, only to find out their packages were swiped by porch pirates.

"Do not run the risk of leaving your packages unattended, even if it's just for a short period of time," urged Karla Laird of the BBB. "Porch pirates target affluent and/or suburban neighbourhoods as well as apartment buildings where they notice large volumes of packages being delivered on a daily basis. They oftentimes drive behind branded delivery vehicles and try to capitalize on opportunities where packages are left on doorsteps. Pretending to be delivery drivers, sometimes wearing caps and vests, they easily walk up to people's front doors and move packages within minutes of them being dropped off."

With package theft being at an all-time high, BBB is sharing the following tips to help you fight back and prevent porch pirates from stealing Christmas:

  • Take advantage of online tracking services offered by retailers. Some retailers have updated their tracking information to let recipients know the time window in which their packages may be delivered. If so, make sure someone is around to collect the delivery. If the company says the package was delivered but it is nowhere to be found, report it.
  • Monitor the front door. If you have a home security camera system, make sure it captures activity at your front door and mailbox. If you catch any mail thieves in the act, save the video and alert law enforcement. The thieves may be targeting your neighbourhood and video surveillance can be very helpful in preventing these crimes.
  • Customize the delivery. If you know the package is going to be larger than the mailbox, authorize the carrier to leave it in a specified out-of-sight location. A safer solution is to request pick-up at their facility.
  • Secure the shipment. Signature confirmations ensure that the package ends up in the right hands. Register your most valuable packages so special care and documentation is used every step of the way. Ship your packages to where you are, not where you aren’t.
  • Talk to your employer. If you are working in the office and will not be home to collect your packages, ask if they can allow you to have them delivered there instead.

Watch for suspicious activity. If you notice something out of place in your neighbourhood, provide a detailed report to law enforcement.