How to keep thieves from stealing your holiday packages

By: Kristin Leigh

Updated:

The season of giving brings with it the season of stealing. Thieves are targeting front porches across the Mid-South, as package deliveries increase during the holiday shopping season.

This weekend, Memphis Police published its second warning in less than a week, after Memphis neighbors captured video of “porch pirates” snatching deliveries. 


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Brian Sabel lives in the Waynoka neighborhood, off of Walnut Grove Road. 

“As he was standing up here, he had torn the corner of the envelope open, and was checking to see if there was money in there,” Sabel told FOX13, describing a day when he saw a porch thief rummaging through his mailbox. 

“My nephew didn’t get his birthday card in time,” Sabel added, with a lighthearted laugh. 

The Memphis neighbor described two times in the last month when a suspicious person approached his home. 

In a second incident, Sabel’s neighbor caught a package thief red-handed. 

The neighbor snapped a photo of the porch creeper, and blasted the intruder on the Next Door app after shewing him off. 

“She saw him stoop down and come up with something,” Sabel said. “He complained about her being a nosey neighbor. She’s like, ‘Yeah. I am a nosey neighbor, thank you very much.”

When Next Door is lighting up with reported package thieves, Mark Weber said his package center in Midtown gets busy.

Weber owns and operates the Mail Center on Madison Avenue in Midtown.

“We’ve wound up being recommended as a place to come,” Weber said. 

Weber rents out mailboxes for about 10 to 12 dollars per month, and allows people to have their packages dropped off securely in mailboxes they rent. 

“If you want everything secure and in one place, it allows you to have everything sent here, including your mail,” Weber said. 

If his Midtown shop isn’t convenient for you, most carriers have pickup points across the Mid-South. The stores will accept your packages, allowing you to pick them up later. 

FedEx has drop off points at Kroger grocery stores and Walgreens stores. 

UPS has more than 100 places in the Memphis metro area where you can have your items delivered.

Amazon offers two Whole Foods stores in Memphis in Germantown that will accept your packages. 

What amazon doesn't offer in Memphis is the option to give the delivery person access to your home to leave the package inside the door.

Amazon is testing the service in 37 u-s cities right now.

The controversial service has been met with skepticism, and it’s a conversation-starter in Weber’s Mail Center. The idea makes some shoppers uncomfortable.

“Different driver every day, different people,” Weber said to a customer in his store. “Who's got access to the key? I don't know, I just don't see it.”

Sabel takes a more traditional approach. 

“Outgoing mail gets deposited directly into a mailbox now,” he told FOX13. 

Sabel has taken steps to protect his delivered packages, having learned his lesson from attempted thieves. He said nothing beats old-fashioned communication, with neighbors who look out for one another.

“The more you communicate with your neighbors, the safer neighborhoods are,” Sabel added.

Neighbors who don’t want to drive to a location to pick up there packages can take steps to keep them more safe at the door. 

Weber suggests communicating with delivery drivers about where to leave the packages. Customers can ask the driver to leave items with a neighbor, or in the backyard where thieves are less likely to see them.

Parcel lockboxes are another option. Delivered items can only be accessed with a key after a carrier deposits the item in the box.

FOX13 found parcel lockboxes for between $200 and $500 on Websites like Wayfair, Home Depot, and Amazon.

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