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OPP Warns Online Shoppers: Beware of “Porch Pirates”

Although package theft has been around long since delivery services came to be, it never fails to unpleasantly amaze how insensitive and despicable these “porch pirates” can be. Forget about those who wander randomly through the streets looking for unattended packages, some homeowners even claimed to have witnessed thieves driving and tailing package delivery vans, actively seeking to raid batches of goods in a daring fashion. In a shopping season under the city’s lockdown, these “porch pirates” have become all the more harmful, to the extent that Ontario Provincial Police and Toronto Police Service both felt the need to post written alerts and short video, warning citizens to keep a watchful eye to their and their neighbours’ parcels.

“As online shopping continues to grow, the opportunity for theft has risen significantly,” said Caledon OPP in a news release. In order to protect your packages, OPP recommended the following precautions you can take:

  • Always track your deliveries online where applicable;
  • Never leave your packages sitting outside overnight;
  • Get yourself a residential delivery lockbox if possible;
  • Safeguard the exterior of your home with surveillance cameras;
  • Use an alternative, more secured address like your workplace or in-store pickup;
  • Ask a neighbour to collect your package for you when you’re not available at the moment of delivery;
  • Always report suspicious activities to your local police.

On a side note, if you happen to be visited by one of those “porch pirates” and have caught them in the act, do always phone the police first if you are going in for confrontation, as desperate times inspire desperate behaviours, and a COVID lockdown definitely counts. Riverdale homeowner Casey Howe posted on Facebook that an attempted break-in to their home took place on November 12th. Though nothing was stolen and the family was safe, their wooden doorframe was smashed in by great force – likely with a blunt weapon. In a high crime rate season like this, getting your stuff stolen sucks, and getting yourself injured sucks even more. So practice caution to protect your package and yourself, be on the lookout for your neighbours, and let us enjoy the discount online shopping season that we all deserve.