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How to protect your holiday packages from 'porch pirates'

The National Retail Federation says that this year’s holiday online shopping is expected to reach almost $279 billion — that's 9% more than last year.

College Area Resident Flavia Contreras bought a special holiday gift for her daughter online, but instead of putting it under her Christmas tree, she put the package description in a police report.

“I got pictures and notifications on my phone," Contreras said. "I was at work, I saw it and when I got home and was very excited, I had made plans to hide it from my kids and I saw nothing."   


On Nov. 30, two “porch pirates” took the holiday gift and another package right off her porch in front of a neighbor, who later explained what he saw.

“Someone came here in broad daylight, stopped their car. There were two people and just walked to your house, nonchalant,” Contreras said.

Her neighbor took photos of the thieves’ vehicle and their license plate number.

After the theft, the Contreras family feels unsafe, and they’ve reduced their online shopping.

“It makes me feel violated because that’s my home,” Contreras continued, “Someone walked up to my house, my doorstep and just felt that it was OK for them to take something that was mine while I was at work.”


Chamber of Commerce, a research company for businesses and entrepreneurs, revealed their 2023 package theft statistics after surveying 1,250 consumers nationwide.

“We found that 26%, about one in four respondents, said they have been victims of a package theft and had had at least one package stolen,” said Collin Czarnecki, a researcher with Chamber of,  

Czarnecki says the average package value was about $82 dollars and 22% of victims had some sort of surveillance camera when the theft occurred.

“It appears that thieves have become more brazen, even though there is some sort of deterrent, whether it be a security camera or doorbell camera, it's not really affecting whether or not someone decides to steal a package off of someone's home,” Czarnecki said.

Both Amazon and FedEx encourage package theft victims to file a police report.

“That's because the more people who report porch pirates and package theft, the more law enforcement becomes aware and hopefully can help monitor those certain neighborhoods where there could be patterns or trends to help catch the culprits,” said Montana MacLachlan, an Amazon spokesperson.

San Diego Police Department data shows as of 2022, burglary reports have gone down in the last decade.

Amazon tips for safe delivery strategies


  • Customers can access through Amazon's app, where they can see their package live in real time on a map when that package is close to being delivered to their home.
  • Share your tracking information with a trusted neighbor or family member via text or email and have them pick up your package if your not home.


  • Amazon Day Delivery: Customers can select a day of the week for their packages to arrive during a timeframe when they know that they'll be home.
  • Amazon Key In-Garage Delivery: Amazon Prime customers can get Amazon packages delivered inside of your garage.

Pickup and drop-off

More tips to protect your Amazon packages can be found here.

In case of theft

MacLachlan recommends immediately reaching out to their customer service team if one of your Amazon packages is stolen. Their team is available 24/7.

“Every circumstance is unique and so we like to help every person and hear their story and understand what's going on, so we can find the right solution for them,” MacLachlan said.

If your package has been stolen, Chamber of Commerce recommends you also contact both the sender and the carrier of the package and file a missing package claim.

File a missing package claim

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