“Porch pirates” striking in Rochester again; How to keep your packages safe

(ABC 6 News) – Time and time again, delivered packages are being stolen right off of people’s front porches and the Rochester community is growing frustrated.

While ordering what you need may be easier than ever, convenience is now turning into frustration.
David Hall, a Rochester resident, has been a victim of what many are terming “porch pirates”.
Hall ordered an electric trimmer which was swiped off of his front porch last year, still in the box.

“I was irritated by the whole thing,” Hall said. “It never came. I checked on it and I realized it had been delivered, there was documentation that it was delivered, but it was gone.”

Hall is not the only person getting a headache from missing a package.

One Rochester woman caught another thief red-handed this month using a camera she installed on her front door. She had received a large box containing a baby gate, which she believed the thief didn’t intend to steal.

“I feel like a lot of packages, it is unclear their value and maybe they get stolen without even knowing what the value is,” Hall said. “Looking back, I should’ve probably reported to the police, but I just tried everything on those avenues, and I was not able to be reimbursed.”

Now, people like Hall are taking extra precautions in order to put a stop to other porch pirates in the neighborhood.

“Watching out for each other and paying attention to my neighbors. Somebody who is either suspicious or doesn’t seem to belong,” Hall said. “Doing something like that and the doorbell cameras are a good answer, I probably need to get one myself.”

Officers with the Rochester Police Dept. agree and say they can make all of the difference when it comes to the investigation.

“Having video has a significant impact. Without the video, I would say the likelihood of finding the individual that stole that package is relatively slim,” said Sgt. Eric Strop with RPD. “It’s basically a reminder to everyone to use your due diligence and be vigilant about how you have your packages shipped.”

Sgt. Strop says one way you can do this is to ensure you will be home when your package arrives.
If that is not a possibility, Sgt. Strop advises having it shipped to your place of work or even to a friend’s house, to make sure that it lands in the right hands.

“If there is no opportunity, there is no crime. Anytime you can have a package delivered to a trusted neighbor, a storefront, somewhere you frequent, or even a parcel system, you should,” said Professor of Criminal Justice Admin., Ben Stickle, at Middle Tennessee State University. “That way, the only thing that comes between you and your package is you and not anyone else.”

The biggest thing you can do is report suspicious activity when you see it.

“If you see something say something. Don’t assume someone else is contacting law enforcement if you see some suspicious activity,” Sgt. Strop said. “This could be someone following a mail or delivery truck, or even someone driving slowly in the neighborhood that does not seem like they belong. You should call 911 and report this, we’d like to know about it.”