'I've had two parcels taken in the past month!' The one thing I'm buying in Cyber Monday sales to stop 'porch pirates'

With more and more online shopping comes more and more parcel theft - here's what you can buy, at a great discount, to save your internet orders from porch piracy

a door with parcels outside
(Image credit: Getty images)

So-called "porch piracy" is a growing crime - and it's one that I've fallen foul of a few times now. I do most of my shopping online, but recently I've found delivery windows growing more expansive, and it's just not possible to always be in when your courier eventually shows up. 

Some delivery companies may try to re-deliver or leave with a neighbor, but several will just simply leave your parcel on your porch - and that's where it can become fodder for 'porch pirates'.

Did you know that 17% of Americans have had a parcel stolen in the last 3 months, according to a package theft annual report from Security.org? And that the typical value of these stolen parcels is $50? I've had a couple of low-value parcels taken from my doorstep in the past couple of weeks - and with the Christmas shopping period in full swing, I'm looking for a solution. 

But what should you invest in to tackle the porch pirate epidemic? I've already invested in the best wireless doorbell, so I'm looking to take things up a notch. This is the one thing I've got my eye on, and they're currently on sale for Cyber Monday. 

Why invest in a parcel box?

The most common deterrents for parcel theft aren't necessarily proving the most effective. 'Motion-detecting lights and doorbell cameras can keep eyes on your porch from anywhere, safeguarding your packages and your family,' the experts at Security.org say. 'To maximize deterrence, make monitoring measures obvious to potential pirates.'

However, we've all seen videos on social media of thefts of parcel's from porches, so even the best home security system isn't going to stop pirates. The problem - most people only notify the shipper or the courier - and only 15% notify the police. For better or worse, we're more interested in replacing our packages, than the civic duty of reporting a crime. 

What you may be looking for, then, is a way to make your packages theft-proof - and a parcel box may be the answer. 

Parcel boxes come in various forms. The most basic, and least expensive, are simply discreet boxes that can live on your porch. Your delivery person can open them and drop a parcel inside, hiding it from view from passersby on the street. It has no extra security as such, but will undoubtedly stop opportunistic thefts, and keep parcels out of the rain. 

One level progressed is a parcel drop box, which contains a slot in which your courier can put a parcel in. Once they close the slot, the parcel will drop into a secure chamber which can only be accessed by key. These parcel boxes tend to be larger and less discreet, but will certainly keep your parcels safe from thieves. 

The next tier up is the "smart" parcel box. Brands such as Eufy, Yale and more have come up with parcel boxes fitted with app-enabled tech that offers a more hands-on approach to tracking your parcel deliveries. 

Eufy's SmartDrop, for example, is fitted with a 1080P HD camera so you can watch parcels be delivered, and you'll get notifications when a courier does a drop. For your delivery people, the parcel box guides the courier in how to make a delivery to the box, and it should only take seconds. 

You can also open and operate the parcel box remotely, and you can give friends/family/couriers a pin to be able to access one-time. It's like having your own personal concierge when it comes to getting deliveries when you're out. 

How else can I deter "porch pirates"?

Deterrents such as outdoor security cameras and video doorbells are going to be a net positive in convincing thieves not to target your home, so it's still worth investing in these where they're useful for your home's general security. 

Otherwise, you'll need to be smart in how you shop online and arrange home deliveries. 'Most online retailers and delivery companies permit scheduling specific delivery timeframes – take advantage by choosing hours when someone will be present,' the experts at Security.org say. 'Consolidating deliveries on work-from-home days is a popular solution in the telecommuting era. Try to monitor delivery progress via tracking links or text messages and grab the shipment ASAP to limit the window of vulnerability.' 

Hugh Metcalf
Editor of Livingetc.com

Hugh is the  Editor of Livingetc.com. From working on a number of home, design and property publications and websites, including Grand Designs, ICON and specialist kitchen and bathroom magazines, Hugh has developed a passion for modern architecture, impactful interiors and green homes. Whether moonlighting as an interior decorator for private clients or renovating the Victorian terrace in Essex where he lives (DIYing as much of the work as possible), you’ll find that Hugh has an overarching fondness for luxurious minimalism, abstract shapes and all things beige. He’s just finished a kitchen and garden renovation, and has eyes set on a bathroom makeover for 2024.