The Best Ways to Prevent Holiday Package Thefts
Holiday spending is skyrocketing this year, both in physical retail stores and online. In fact, online holiday shopping is expected to jump to $123.73 billion this year, an increase of 16.6 percent over last year. With so much online shopping, delivery companies will be dropping off packages around the clock.
And that leaves plenty of opportunities for thieves to swipe packages from your doorstep.
“Porch pirates” are a big problem. Some 11 million households had packages stolen last year. Most packages were stolen when the homeowners weren’t home, and an average of $200 was spent on replacing each package.
If you’re ordering gifts and other items this holiday season, it’s important to stay vigilant. Here are a few ways to prevent package theft, and how an Atlanta larceny attorney can help you if you’re charged with this kind of crime.
- 30% of Americans say they’ve had a package stolen off their porch.
- Over 40% of those thefts happened to people living in cities.
- Nearly 26 million people had packages stolen from their porch last holiday season.
1. Be Home When the Package Arrives
One of the simplest and easiest ways to prevent package theft in Atlanta is to be home when the package arrives. This allows you to make sure the package is delivered into your hands, or you can at least pick it up immediately from your doorstep. But, being home to receive your package isn’t always an option.
If you can’t take a day off work, leave early or otherwise be home when your package will be delivered, make other arrangements. Some delivery companies will allow you to schedule your delivery for a day and/or you will be home. If this isn’t an option, have the package delivered to your workplace.
2. Invest in Smart Technology
There’s plenty of smart technology that you can invest in to keep your packages safe. For instance, video doorbells can help you keep an eye on your doorstep. While it may not keep your package from being stolen, it will show you who took the package.
You can also invest in a product like a BoxLock. This smart padlock allows delivery drivers to scan the package, which opens the padlock on a storage box on your porch to securely store your items.
If you have Amazon Prime, you can sign up for Amazon Key. This smart device allows couriers to access your home and/or car to securely drop off packages. However, this does essentially allow strangers to access your home or car, and you do have to buy an expensive kit. But some found the service much less creepy and more helpful than they originally thought it would be.
3. Leave It With a Neighbor
If you have a neighbor you trust, and who you know will be home when your package gets delivered, have your package sent to their house. Or, if it’s going to be delivered to your home, ask them to pick it up for you and keep it until you can pick it up. Just don’t forget a small gift, like a gift card or homemade cookies, to thank them!
If you live in an apartment building, consider having the package dropped off with your landlord. If your apartment complex has a front office, make sure you leave a note on your door to make sure the courier knows to leave any packages for you at the office instead of at your door.
4. Utilize Delivery Company Services
Most package delivery companies allow you to track your package online. Be sure to take advantage of this system. You can keep track of where your items are and when they’re scheduled to be delivered. That way, you can be home for the delivery or let your neighbor know when your package will arrive.
You can also ensure your package is delivered safely by requiring a package signature. If no one is home to sign for the package, a note will be left on your door letting you know when they’ll try the delivery again. Alternatively, the note may say where you can pick up your package. Porch pirates can’t steal what isn’t there, and required a signature ensures your package won’t be left out in the cold.
What Kind of Crime Is Package Theft?
When porch pirates strike, words like robbery and burglary are often thrown around. Under Georgia law, stealing a package would almost never qualify as robbery. Robbery tends to involve some kind of violence during the act of theft.
Along the same lines, package theft would likely not qualify as burglary, either. Under Georgia law, burglary requires a person to enter a dwelling unlawfully with the intent of committing a crime. Because packages are usually left on the porch, taking them generally doesn’t require a thief to physically enter the dwelling to take them.
Instead, porch piracy generally falls under Georgia larceny laws. According to state laws, larceny generally refers to theft by taking — or physically taking property that isn’t yours. If property is taken with the intent of depriving the rightful owner of said property, it’s considered larceny. This law describes package theft and other types of physical theft.
Depending on the situation, larceny can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. Most often, it will be tried as a misdemeanor. But if certain requirements are met, package theft may be tried as a felony. These criteria include:
- The value of the package exceeds $500
- The package contains at least $100 in car parts
- The package contains explosive, firearms or other destructive devices
Speak to a Larceny Lawyer Today
Don’t let your holidays be ruined by a larceny charge. If you’ve been arrested for package theft, the Atlanta larceny attorneys at Hawkins Spizman Fortas are here to help you. Give us a call immediately to speak with an experienced lawyer.
We’ll review the details of your case at no charge to you, and help you decide the best path moving forward. Call us today at 770-685-6400 or contact us online for your free, no-obligation consultation.