7 Ways to Deter Porch Pirates (& 4 That Never Work)

The videos of glitter bombs may be satisfying (who doesn't love sparkly revenge?), but they won't deter porch pirates. Try these method that work instead.

Published November 17, 2023
porch pirate stealing packages

There’s only one thing that can get us through the post-lunch afternoon sleepies — knowing we’ve got a package waiting at home. We don’t envy anyone’s new mail high getting dashed by a porch pirate. But this isn’t the high seas, and you can’t command your crew to load the cannons and prepare to fire. Instead, you’ve got to be proactive rather than reactive if you want to end your porch pirate troubles once and for all.

7 Creative Ways to Stop Porch Pirates in Their Tracks

Whether it’s rain or shine, a weekday or a holiday, porch pirates never take a day off. If you’ve got a bandit problem, it’s time to take some targeted measures. Make those porch pirates walk the plank with these creative methods.

Get a PO Box

PO boxes aren’t as common as they used to be, but they’re still around. The United States Postal Service's PO boxes are the only ones you can send packages to, costing between $5 and $15 a month. If your packages exceed a certain size limit, they’ll hold them inside for you for a few days, and you can pick them up.

If you have a continuous porch pirate problem, then this is a great way to keep any packages from showing up at your house. And you can access your PO box almost any time of the day depending on the location.

Install a Package Delivery Box

Take the Saw razor box trap and make it PG, and you’ve got package delivery boxes. These boxes are designed for packages to slip easily inside but be impossible to pull out. Each box’s specific design varies, but the idea remains the same. When you’re ready to grab your packages, you can open it with the turn of a key.

Now, the main downsides to these are that they take up a lot of space on the front porch, and they’re pretty expensive. If you have a lot of packages throughout the year, then parcel boxes like one from Architectural Mailboxes might be a great investment.

Need to Know

One retired North Carolina police officer we spoke to personally recommends a lockable delivery box of some kind as the best way to protect your packages. 

Amazon Key

Now we’re getting into the kinds of solutions that’d make George Orwell’s eye twitch. Amazon keys are available for prime members, and they basically rig your garage door so that Amazon delivery drivers can place your packages inside your garage.

If you’re personally bankrolling Jeff Bezos with the number of Amazon packages that come to your door and you’ve got a garage in the first place, this a wonderful option for you.

Require a Signature


A basic option people forget is requiring that your packages be signed for. For example, have your folks require a signature for the packages they’re sending you for the holidays. That way, someone else doesn’t get to celebrate the festivities in your stead.

Unfortunately, not every business you buy from gives you that option. So, this method works best in tandem with something else.

Send Packages to Friend’s Place

The best kinds of friends will stockpile your packages at their house. If their house is free and clear of porch pirates and you’re in deep water, it’s worth asking for their help. If they’ve got the space, your friends could give your endangered packages asylum throughout the year.

Tack Up a Beware of Dog Sign

Let’s face it — a lot of people are afraid of dogs. Play into that fear with a beware of dog sign. This works best if you’ve got a fence because it sells the idea that the imaginary dog could be waiting outside. No need for the potential porch pirates to know that your teacup poodle would rather beg them for treats than shoo them away. It’s all about showing up with a great bark, not a good bite.

Design a Hidden Area on Your Porch

If you only get the occasional package stolen from your house, it might be a visibility problem. Make sure you’ve got something set up on the porch that can be used to block packages from street view. Think big potted plants, seating, sculpture, lighting, and so on. If you make your porch less open, people might not notice all the goodies lying in wait.

Jackpot Ideas That Turn Out to be Fool’s Gold

You’re not going to strike gold with every idea. On paper, these might sound like winning plans. But they’re not keeping porch pirates from being on the prowl.

Video Doorbells

Sure, video doorbells can be good evidence to identify who stole your packages, but they’re not a surefire way to keep people from stealing them in the first place. Equipping your video doorbell with a loud warning sound or phrase like “you are now being recorded” is one way to add another layer of protection.

According to a retired North Carolina police officer, criminal charges for stealing packages don’t have a high success rate. Because of the nature of the legal system, you need a completely clear visual of the person’s face plus a video of them stealing the packages directly from your property. Your 360p videos of someone’s profile just won’t cut it in terms of the law.

Security System Signs

If actual video recording systems aren’t enough to keep people from stealing packages off your front porch, then a security system sign definitely isn’t going to. It’s a tactic that might have worked a few decades ago, but people are more tech-wise than ever. They know how to spot a camera, and they’ll be looking for them.

Following Delivery Windows/Tracking Routes

Delivery windows are less accurate than pregnancy due dates if that’s even possible. You can keep refreshing that package tracker every 10 minutes, and somehow, you’ll still miss when it gets delivered by 30 minutes.

While these are great tools in theory, they’re not always accurate in real-time, which can leave your packages open to everybody’s grabby hands for longer than you’d like.

Glitter Bombs Aren't All Fun & Games Either 

When you’re 0-10 in successively delivered packages, tempers can run high, and glitter bombs feel like more and more of an option. While glitter bombs can dole out a glittery retribution, they’re not quite the deterrents you want.

Those 60-second clips on social media don’t tell the full story. Like the storm cloud you hope wouldn’t come, lawsuits wait just around the corner. The retired police officer we spoke to confirmed that glitter bombs aren’t illegal, but they do pose a litigation hazard. Those ‘gotcha’ moments must feel a lot less satisfying when you’re being subpoenaed.

Make Porch Pirates Walk the Plank

The only surefire way to protect your packages is to be proactive. Don’t wait until someone finally decides to target your house. Instead, set up a solid system that keeps your packages out of street view and tucked away for safekeeping.

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7 Ways to Deter Porch Pirates (& 4 That Never Work)