Engineers tackling "porch pirate" package pilfering problem

We’ve had this in our area for a few months and I’ve been using it when I can. There’s also a “store” for lack of a better term, it’s basically a locker and a drop-chute (for returns) that’s staffed. This doesn’t always work, though – I’ve had Amazon tell me that a given locker is full. They also only hold packages up to a certain size.

I have UPS set up where anything (Amazon, or otherwise) going to my house is diverted to a UPS Store, but sometimes this screws up where they tell me they couldn’t leave it there, so they’re sending it to my house, then it turns out it’s at the UPS Store after all. My favorite was when the text message said it was at the main UPS center; UPS’s tracking said it was at the UPS Store; and Amazon said it was still en route.

FedEx will also divert (when possible) to a FedEx office, but as far as I can tell, it’s on a per-package basis, not by default like UPS will do.

USPS still just gets left on the porch, but when possible, if it’s one of the other shippers, I try to have the package held somewhere.

I had packed up my old train set (at my parents’ house) and sent it home (via FedEx) so my son could have it, and someone stole it right off our porch. (For future reference: don’t re-use a “Honey Baked Ham” box. Find whatever boxes they use to ship brussell sprouts, offal, or turds and use one of those boxes.) Neighbor got their car and (temporary) tag on video, and I sent that to the police, but after 2 years and 2 months I don’t imagine anything will come of it.

1 Like

So far, everything that’s been re-routed ended up in the second box right next to “my” box.

Almost the same as our old place - got a dog kennel given to us, so I added a door and padlock and put it in the front garden. Must go back and pick it up!

It sure is something we were totally fine with at one time. My old apartment had one key that only opened the back door into the kitchen - for the ice man.


Many newer (<10 years old) neighborhoods, as well as most apartment buildings, have mailbox units like the one pictured. It’s great for packages delivered via the Post Office, but can’t be used by other carriers like UPS, FedEx, or DHL.

Wait, doesn’t a simple cheap $50 camera that records your porch area 24/7 offer enough protection against “porch pirates”? I guess they could wear disguises…

Parcel boxes? kinda like this?

1 Like

Wait how do these lockboxes work? How do you get keys to all the delivery people across like 5 different delivery services? USPS, DHL, Fedex, UPS… how does that work?

It doesn’t need to be locked if everyone has one. Someone checking them all would be caught quickly.

1 Like

they lock when the delivery person closes them

Wow, they actually come to the door and ring the bell still where you live? Where I live now they just throw it in the front yard and leave. Or maybe they come close enough to throw it onto the porch, but no knock. Pisses me off.


Huh, my UPS guy brings my dog cookies.


I see so they are default-open and the first close locks it? Not bad. Not bad!


I have a partial solution for my apartment building. I installed a programmable intercom door buzzer, so I can give entry codes to deliverers to leave things in the lobby. Works great for the mailman and UPS and Fedex, which are regulars, but USPS parcels, AMZ, Fedex Ground and others are random drivers such that I can’t supply them all.

Sifn’t just have the stuff delivered to a nearby shop or whatever. It’s an option I see on eBay sometimes these days. Best by far.


Camera, schmamera…

Neighbor got their car and (temporary) tag on video, and I sent that to the police, but after 2 years and 2 months I don’t imagine anything will come of it.

(see above)


Our mail carrier runs a neighborhood free dog training class. Every dog in the area loves him.


For $50, you could buy a used rocking chair and hire someone with a shotgun to sit in it. That’d protect your porch. A camera though, nah, that won’t do anything but take pictures.

Guess I’m lucky. Where I live, we can just ask the delivery people to leave things inside the front door (mostly so that it won’t get rained on). They don’t always, but we’ve never had anything stolen.


What exactly is the problem with delivering it when people are home? When special boxes and key arrangements are feasible, it’s also feasible to have the recipient choose between delivering at a specific time, picking it up at a convenient location, or having it delivered to a neighbour, all of which are common with the most popular Dutch webshops.

Actually, the delivering to a neighbour is the default for standard mail packages. It’s great when you’ve got good neighbours, but perhaps not a great option for people with unreliable neighbours. It should definitely be possible to tell the mail delivery not to do that.

How does that even remotely count as delivery? Everybody can claim they never received it. This seems like a delivery method that would die out almost instantly in any but the safest and most honest neighbourhoods.

Easy to sabotage by pranksters.