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Protect Your Packages from Porch Pirates

It’s the time of the year when many are beginning holiday shopping, thanks to modern technology we can now buy just about anything online and have it delivered to our doorstep in a matter of hours or days. Not only has online shopping been super convenient, but it’s also created a huge window of opportunity for package thieves referred to as “porch pirates.”

Wooden chests full of gold, silver, and jewels aren’t the only thing pirates are after these days, they also want your packages.

Here’s how you can help prevent porch pirates from striking your treasure:

  • Have your packages delivered to a location where someone can receive them in-person. A neighbor or relative who is usually home, for example, or your workplace if your employer allows it.
  • Use smart package lockers or a convenience store. To avoid your Amazon package being stolen from your front porch, use Amazon Locker. Amazon allows you to pick up your delivery in an Amazon Locker in selected locations across the country with a unique code, which you can punch into the machine to retrieve your package. Find a location near you here
  • Encourage your neighbors to watch for deliveries and agree to secure each other’s packages. This includes being watchful for any strangers who are going onto porches for no apparent reason or following delivery trucks.
  • Ask the shipper to hold your package at their facility. Most offer this service.
  • Track deliveries online. Many companies, including USPS, offer a text notification to your cell phone when a package has been delivered.
  • Request a signature confirmation of delivery.
  • Ensure valuable items.
  • Provide delivery instructions. If packages will be left while you are not home, try to have them left out of sight from the street.
  • Consider installing a camera surveillance system. Many cameras include features, such as high-definition resolution and saved images, which can help law enforcement should an incident occur.

If you discover that your package has been stolen you can report it online at or by calling a Desk Officer at 408-730-7110.

If you see the crime in progress, we ask that you use caution and do not approach the suspect(s), instead call 911. When calling 911 please keep in mind that it is important to give as much information as possible that describes the potential suspect(s), their vehicles, and direction of travel.

As a reminder, the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety offers an Exchange Zone. The Exchange Zone is a specific space in our public parking lot (700 All America Way) for community members to conduct private party transactions and custody exchanges as an alternative to other meeting locations, such as a private residence or retail center parking lot. Availability is on a first come, first serve basis. No reservations will be taken. The parking limit is 30 minutes.

Be safe and if you see something suspicious say something by calling us. 911 for emergencies, 408-730-7180 for non-emergencies, 408-730-7100 for general inquiries.


1 Comment
  1. Thomas Clarence 4 years ago

    You made a great point when you explained that asking for packages to be left out of sight from the street is a good way to prevent them from getting stolen. I would imagine that a lot of packages get stolen off the front doors of an apartment building because there is no place to hide them. It seems like an apartment complex would really benefit from some kind of private locker system so that packages can be protected until the residents can pick them up.

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