“Porch Pirates” seek to steal your home deliveries!

Release Date: 09 October 2020

Police and the local Council are warning the public about delivery thefts after reports of people stealing packages from outside homes.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, parcels left outside people’s homes or in communal areas by delivery drivers have been stolen.

Whilst couriers such as Amazon and Hermes have been advised on how to make sure packages are safe, we are also encouraging local people to do their bit to protect their delivered goods.

Advice includes: 

  • If there is an option to leave a telephone number and to receive a text once delivery has been then do so
  • Try and obtain a short time slot for your delivery – so that items are not left outside for long periods 
  • Have your packages delivered to a secure location. Amazon has set up “lockers” where your package will wait for you securely.  Some shipping companies allow you to divert your package to a local retailer and pick it up by showing your ID
  • Add detailed delivery instructions. You could tell a delivery person to put the package in a place that can’t be seen easily, or request that the delivery require your signature so the package will not be left out all day
  • Ask a neighbour to bring in your package
  • Ensure all communal external doors are locked and not propped open
  • Ask landlords to assist with secure internal storage areas
  • Be vigilant and look out for each other

Cllr Lesley Pollesche, on behalf of the Richmond Community Safety Partnership, said:

"As a result of COVID-19 more of us are turning to online organisations and delivery firms to bring goods to our doorstep.

"This in itself can cause its own issues, especially for those of us that reside in homes with a shared communal reception area or hallway.

"We know that the big delivery companies have particular policies in place to protect their staff when making deliveries, and many leave products on the door-step. This is when the ‘porch pirates’ pounce.

“There has been an increase in the number of reports of delivery theft. Therefore, we all need to do what we can to protect our goods.”

Inspector Rebecca Robinson from Richmond Police, added:

“As the nights draw in, it becomes easier for burglars to spot when somebody is at home or not. Therefore, it’s really important to take some simple precautions to avoid delivery theft and burglaries.

“For burglars, seeing a parcel left outside someone’s door is a sign that nobody is in. They may then spot other signs, which indicate easy access to your home, valuables within and a good opportunity to commit a burglary. We are therefore advising residents to ensure their home is secure when they leave, to keep valuables out of sight from the window and of course, to take steps to avoid parcels being left on their doorsteps.”

The Met Police website has more crime prevention advice.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact  Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P401/20

Updated: 20 October 2020