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Get Gephardt: Why you cannot rely on doorbell cameras to thwart porch pirates

Dec 6, 2022, 1:47 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — Over a third of us have been hit by porch pirates in the past year according to a new study from ValuePenguin.com. While doorbell cameras have become an extremely popular tool, theyre not doing much when it comes to preventing package theft. 

With over $11 billion of stuff bought online just this past Cyber Monday alone, according to Adobe Analytics, porch pirates are a real threat this season.

We repeatedly see delivered packages swiped by porch pirates right off doorsteps and often, on camera.

How often do the porch pirates get caught? Not very, answered ValuePenguin.com’s Divya Sangameshwar.

“Thieves know about video doorbell (cameras) so they kind of hide their face, they wear a hoodie or a mask,” Sangameshwar said.

Or they walk below or around the camera’s line of sight.

That personally happened to me,” she said. “A package got stolen and all I saw the thief was the tips of his finger which was pretty useless when it comes to try to file any kind of report.”

Despite all the doorbell footage out there, in data shared with KSL, ValuePenguin.com found only 17% of victims called the police. Instead, 62% called the retailer they bought the package from.

“If you’re ordering from a major retailer and you get in touch with them, they’re probably going to send you a replacement,” Sangameshwar explained.

Seventy-one percent of victims told ValuePenguin.com they got at least something from the retailer for their stolen package. Do not expect it when you’re trying to replace something that’s valuable, popular, or both.

“Last year, a PlayStation 5 got stolen from one of our neighbors,” she said. “And even if the retailer was willing to refund them or get them a replacement – the replacement was taking several months, so they weren’t going to get it in time for the holidays.”

So, Sangameshwar said, you cannot rely on your doorbell camera to save Christmas.

Your best bet: Make sure a package needs to be signed for on delivery or ensure it arrives when you are home. Or have it delivered to your office or to a package locker like an Amazon hub. Or arrange to pick it up from a Fedex Office or a UPS Store. And if you are really worried, buy Christmas gifts like they did in cavemen times – go into the actual store and buy it.

They used to do that, you know, back in the in the olden days of 2019.”

Most homeowners or renters insurance policies cover package thefts but given most deductibles run between $500 and $1,000, filing a claim probably will not make sense for the average gift.

KSL 5 TV Live

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Get Gephardt: Why you cannot rely on doorbell cameras to thwart porch pirates