By Ted Scouten

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — ‘Tis the season for porch pirates. When online shopping deliveries increase for the holidays, so do the number of porch pirate thefts. Porch pirates are thieves who steal delivered packages from other people’s porches.

You see it happen all over social media, as victims post videos of porch pirates in the act.

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“I noticed the Ring doorbell that a lot of people have was showing video after video after video of people stealing packages off porches,” said Scott Ryan.  Those videos are what lead Ryan to take action. “I built what I call the Amazon Wall,” he said.

The wall is a hiding place on the front porch for packages, which is especially important at this time of year as holiday deliveries ramp up.

“My door is very exposed, so I thought, let me help myself and Amazon and UPS and all the deliveries I get to have somewhere to put it where it doesn’t tempt people, because people walk by all day long,” Ryan said.

Ryan explained to CBS4’s Ted Scouten that it’s actually quite easy to build.

Scott Ryan’s home BEFORE he built his Amazon wall. (Courtesy: Scott Ryan)

He shared pictures with CBS4 which show his home before the wall and how it didn’t provide any safe spot to hide packages.

Then, he shared pictures of how he built the wall. He started by sinking wooden posts about a foot into the ground.

(Courtesy: Scott Ryan)

Then he covered the front with horizontal boards.

(Courtesy: Scott Ryan)

He repeated this process by adding another post, and more boards until construction of the L-shaped wall was complete.

More boards added.(Courtesy: Scott Ryan)

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He added a few final touches, including topping the wall with a flower box, and applyed a dark stain to make it fit in with his home. The whole project took him just 2 days.

(Courtesy: Scott Ryan)

 

Once complete, he was left with a wooden wall, painted to blend into his home that provides protection from his delivered parcels.

Meanwhile, BSO Cooper City is taking a novel approach to avoid becoming a victim, called “Operation Front Porch.”

Cooper City residents can have their packages delivered to the BSO sub station.

“They can ship their packages directly to the Cooper City police station, BSO Cooper City. And we will hold your packages safely for you. Our lobby is open 24/7 365,” said Capt. Chris De Giovanni.

To avoid being a victim, detectives suggest you ask a trusted neighbor for help.

“You can make sure sometimes they deliver it to a neighbor who may be home or you can install a Ring camera so you know when the package is delivered so you can call someone to pick up that package, a good neighbor, good friend,” Capt. De Giovanni said.

Miramar police provided these additional tips:

  • Have packages delivered to your workplace, if possible.
  • Have packages delivered to a neighbor or family member who will be there to accept them.
  • Make sure you have the tracking information for your packages and monitor it. If your packages do not arrive as scheduled, contact the sender immediately.
  • If available, request a signature delivery option. This will require the delivery driver to obtain a signature or deliver the package at another time.
  • Request a specific drop-off time and date from carrier, if possible.
  • Arrange to have your packages held at the delivery service site for pick up.
  • Ask the delivery service to leave your packages by the side/back door or enclosed porch where packages are out of sight.

Amazon offers several ways to keep on eye on packages.

It has Order Tracking which allows customers to track their packages through the Amazon app after they have placed their order. The company will also provide a 2-4 hour estimated delivery window to help customers plan their day. There is a Map Tracking feature that lets customers view the progress of their delivery on a map in real time when the driver is close. Customers can also share tracking details with friends or family via Amazon Share Tracking, and there is a Photo-On-Delivery feature which provides visual delivery confirmation, showing customers that their package was safely delivered and where.

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Amazon also provides Key In-Garage Delivery, a service that allows eligible Amazon Prime members to securely receive deliveries into the safety of their garage. The company also provides a network of package pickup and return locations including Lockers, a secure and self-service pickup and return kiosk at locations including Whole Foods Market stores, 7-Eleven, LA Fitness, Ross, and more. It offers Counter pickup which allows customers to pickup up packages at small to medium sized business as well other companies including Rite Aid, GNC, and Health Mart pharmacies. And there’s Locker+, a secure, Amazon staffed pickup and return location with associates and self-serve kiosks.

Ted Scouten