NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) -- You found all those perfect gifts online, and now they're being shipped to your doorstep. However, making sure your packages stay there is another challenge this holiday season.

News4 is Working 4 You. We did some price shopping for ways to protect your packages from so-called "porch pirates.”

First, it's important for folks to know how these crooks operate. It's usually a two-man operation. A lot of times they will follow delivery trucks and wait for them to drop off packages. They look around to see if anyone is watching, and then go up and get the package.

In less than 30 seconds, they’re in and out.

Let's start off with the most popular item to help stop these criminals: doorbell cameras.

They capture video of anyone who comes to your front door, and in many cases, help police track down porch pirates. 

A "Nest" doorbell online costs $179. A basic “Ring” doorbell system is about $100 ($99.99).

Another option, Amazon's Key requires a certain level of trust to allow a delivery person inside your home. This will run you anywhere from $220 to $300 depending on the system you purchase.

Amazon's system includes a specially-coded lock and camera, which are installed inside your home. The delivery person can then unlock the door with the code and put the package inside your house.

The popular online retailer also offers a new service called "trunk delivery." Delivery drivers can place the package right in the trunk of your car. You have to be an Amazon Prime member to get the service as well as make sure your car is compatible.

Another popular product called “Box Lock" has a scanning lock that opens a container to place the package inside. A bundle package with the lock, and a compatible storage container goes for $239.

If you're looking to go the free route, there's the "Ring Neighbors” app. You can download it, even if you don't have the doorbell camera. It lets you send and receive real-time crime and safety alerts from your neighbors, and local law enforcement.

You can also customize your package delivery:

  • Provide special delivery instructions
  • Require signature for pickup
  • Have the package shipped to your office

If you’re a victim of porch pirate theft, report the problem to local law enforcement and supplying the officers with security camera footage, if available.

Even if your package is a low-value item, reporting the problem can help police to uncover larger theft operations.

Also, be sure to contact the retailer or delivery company to see if you can get a refund – Amazon will often ship a replacement at no charge or provide customers with some type of compensation for lost items.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Edward Burch joined News4 at a reporter in December 2016.

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