Kitchener-Waterloo

Black Friday delivery coming? Beware of porch pirate parcel thefts

Police are reminding homeowners to keep an eye out for porch pirates who steal packages from doorsteps. Police say this type of theft becomes more common around the holiday season.

Police say more online shopping means more packages — and more package thefts

Wellington OPP is reminding homeowners to keep a close eye on their package deliveries as they see an increase of parcel thefts during the holidays. ((Shuttershock))

'Tis the season for online gift shopping, and provincial police in Wellington County are reminding people be on the look-out for "porch pirates."

Police tend to see an uptick in parcel thefts during the holidays due to an increase of online shopping. Packages are delivered to doorsteps and left unattended — making easy bait for package thieves. 

"There is a seasonal increase without a doubt," said Const. Joshua Cunningham. 

"People have an abundance of property that is vulnerable for theft, like gifts they purchase for people."

Stolen items, he adds, can range from home supplies to electronics and even medication.

Earlier in November, Wellington OPP received reports of a theft in Fergus after a parcel of pet medication was stolen from the front steps of a home after being left by a delivery service.

As a result of a police investigation, police say a teen suspect was located and the parcel was returned. 

"That is a prime example of opportunity knocks, where somebody sees something and perceives it to have a value and they take it," Cunningham said.

Tips to avoid a theft

Parcels left unattended at someone's front steps are easy to snatch, Cunningham said.

"It's a simple snatch and grab that has a high reward possibly," he said.

Cunningham said shoppers can take steps to avoid being the victims of theft:

  • Keep track of your package online.
  • Get an estimate of when that item will show up, and arrange to either be at home or have a friend or neighbour pick it up.
  • Give instructions to the delivery service to place packages in a more discreet area.
  • Have the item delivered to your work.
  • Have the package delivered to a delivery depot for pickup.
  • Pick up the item in store.
  • Install a security system that allows you to track and live stream what going outside your home.