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‘Porch pirates’ plague consumers trying to finish their holiday shopping

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Packages stolen from porches, stoops and stairways spike around the holiday season, as thieves take advantage of increased e-commerce spending.

Packages stolen from porches, stoops and stairways spike around the holiday season, as thieves take advantage of increased e-commerce spending.

Packages stolen from porches, stoops and stairways spike around the holiday season, as thieves take advantage of increased e-commerce spending.

Americans spent a record $9.12 billion shopping online this Black Friday, according to USA Today, many ordering gifts for their children, family and friends.

While most packages will arrive unscathed, millions across the United States will be stolen in what security officials call a “crime of opportunity.” Over the past year, 260 million packages worth $19.5 billion were stolen by “porch pirates” according to SafeWise, a home safety research company.

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Although porch piracy is nothing new, Michigan has taken steps to stiffen penalties for those caught in the act.

Public Act 48, established in December 2019, set penalties for first-time offenders to one year in jail and/or a $500 fine. Subsequent offenses were made punishable by up to five years in prison.

And yet, thefts continue throughout much of the state.

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According to ADT Security Services, roughly 36 percent of Americans have been victimized by porch pirates.

Stolen merchandise usually ends up being sold for profit. Porch pirates often nab small packages containing easily sellable items like phones, video game systems or computers.

But those aren’t the only packages stolen.

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Mason resident Shiloh McCoy does most of her shopping from the convenience of her phone. Last summer, her home was targeted by porch pirates twice.

“The first package they took was laundry soap I had ordered off Amazon,” McCoy said. “Why would anyone risk going to jail to steal laundry soap? It just doesn’t make sense. It’s not like there’s a huge underground market for Tide Pods.”

McCoy also had a pair of tennis shoes stolen from her porch. She’d ordered them for her teenage son prior to school beginning in August.

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Since the thefts, McCoy has relied less on the convenience of online shopping — but she’s hopeful a new Ring camera on her front door and motion-activated lights will help deter future would-be thieves.

The Michigan State Police has offered some useful tips to help prevent package thefts this holiday season.

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Lt. Rene Gonzalez — a public information officer for MSP — said a combination of tracking packages, installing door cameras, asking neighbors for help retrieving packages and requesting packages be delivered to other locations are all viable options to safeguard against theft.

Some may even consider installing a lockbox for deliveries, Gonzalez said.

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For more ideas, visit adt.com/resources/porch-pirates.

— Contact reporter Corey Murray at cmurray@hillsdale.net or follow him on Twitter @cmurrayHDN.

This article originally appeared on Hillsdale Daily News: ‘Porch pirates’ plague consumers trying to finish their holiday shopping

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