Social Trends: What People are Posting about Package Theft
There are all sorts of compelling stats about package theft that reveal the problems it presents for consumers in package and food delivery.
But beyond these quantitative snapshots, looking closer at the various posts on Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube provides some interesting substance and flavor to the problem, as well.
Here, we break down what people posting about porch piracy into 5 key categories:
1. Commiserate with the Community
Everyone wants to feel heard and they want to feel like they are a part of something. A lot of the sharing online connected to porch piracy has to do with these two parts of human nature.
Take a look at these.
@IHoldVechain took an “Oh Well” approach, letting the package thief know that they got a lot of diaper caddy liners and he hopes they enjoy them.
To the porch pirate who stole my package:
Congratulations. You are now the proud owner of $40 worth of diaper caddy liners. Use them wisely. — Flying Ⓥechain (@IHoldVechain) July 16, 2021
Some of these posts are just incredulous--like this one on Reddit by @Memesshouldbebanned about having a package stolen while inside making breakfast.
I got my package stolen while I was making breakfast on the other side of the door from packagethieves
Package stealing has become such a problem in my apartment that it has come to a point where people don't care what they steal. This is a note from someone that had their package stolen just a couple hours earlier. from trashy
2. Taking Revenge
After someone has been a victim of package theft and lets out their frustration, some people let it go … and some do not. Feeling violated, the latter folks turn to getting back at those that wronged them. In this world, discussions revolve around the best way to retaliate.
People with pets can find a solution in this video that uses the contents of a cat’s litter box to give porch pirates a yucky surprise:
Another gross tactic is the old rotten milk trap:
Putting a smoke bomb in a bait package also is a cool mov--especially when you see it go off while the perp is trying to drive away right before he tosses it out the window:
One of the best revenge videos is this one that captures a Glitter Bomb that goes off in the car after the criminals think they’ve gotten away with their stolen property:
3. Spread the Word
A great way to use the reach and immediacy of social media is to get the word out about recent thefts and to display images of those criminals caught in the act.
Some of the posts come from the victims, like Tracy on Twitter:
Or Cindy in Durham:
Northeast #Oshawa neighborhood was hit by this #Amazon #porchpirate yesterday afternoon. SUV had stolen plates. He made off with several packages. Durham Police have been notified. If you recognize him, give them a call. pic.twitter.com/Br1cpIyImk — Cindy (Cj) Smith - Ride All The Things!🚴🚗🚍🚃 (@ThisCrazyTrain) December 12, 2019
These posts can be meant to get a specific, much-needed package back, like this one by the local news that called attention to a porch pirate who stole chemo medicine intended for a 14-year-old cancer patient:
Or another news outlet posting a video of a man who stole groceries from an elderly couples stoop:
PORCH PIRATE: Police in Oregon are looking for a man who was caught on camera stealing groceries from an elderly couple's porch. https://t.co/F8SEFHM8nW pic.twitter.com/FAH2Uo6hIA — ABC News (@ABC) June 10, 2020
Other posts come from an official police account, like the Ontario Police:
Do you recognize this #PorchPirate? The suspect is responsible for a #PackageTheft from a residence in Alliston last Friday. Homeowner came home to find online purchase was stolen. Please call #NottyOPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers if you have information ^kv pic.twitter.com/Wxqafk5uv0 — OPP Central Region (@OPP_CR) March 4, 2020
Or the Brea Police Department, which put out this alert with a description of the thief’s attire and vehicle:
#PorchPirate Alert! Orange vests do not indicate that someone is an actual delivery person.This suspect stole a package from the 700 Block of Ellis Dr. & left in the pictured truck. If you have any info, contact Det Sgt Harvey, firstname.lastname@example.org. #thursdaythieves #breapd pic.twitter.com/v8CIPPwHTN — Brea Police Dept (@BreaPD) June 20, 2019
While news about thieves who have already struck can be useful, there’s also a lot of postings online that are trying to stop the crimes from happening in the first place.
For instance, the Seattle Division HQ of US Postal Inspection Service posted this informational video about package theft:
We’re coming up on the holiday shopping season, time to talk #PorchPirates and #PackageTheft 📦whether is delivered by @USPS @amazonnews or any other carrier, its a crime. #WednesdayWisdom #CrimePreventionMonth #LivePD #WMW @catchwmw pic.twitter.com/GkzMgDjLrq — USPIS Seattle Division (@USPIS_Seattle) October 9, 2019
And the Lansdale Police Department just outside of Philadelphia made locals aware that they would receive packages during the holiday season to keep them safe from box bandits:
Tired of responding to "porch pirate" calls, the Lansdale Police Department is asking residents to just have their packages shipped to the police station instead. https://t.co/BfAa4hPvrO pic.twitter.com/ItSLU1fGTq — NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) November 14, 2020
4. Caught on Tape
While the revenge tactic can give victims a little bit of satisfaction, the bad guys or gals are usually long gone before they realize all they got was a box full of “surprise”.
That’s why the most satisfying content online is the information about porch pirates actually getting caught, like this post from the Williamsburg Shomrim safety patrol. They caught a perp stealing package in the middle of the night in Brooklyn, NY:
While #Williamsburg was asleep, @WspuShomrim volunteers out on #NightPatrol at 4:30am, caught this perp stealing packages in the area of Willoughby and Marcy. Great #TeamWork w/@NYPD79Pct and this #PorchPirate, who was also wanted for stealing packages in the past, was arrested. pic.twitter.com/7ybs9GDvVZ — 2 Patrol (@2_Patrol) April 12, 2020
This box bandit was caught in seconds by Edmonton police that were in the neighborhood:
This bad-driving bandit caught himself, when he drove the getaway car into snowbank and got snuck:
A suspected porch pirate was filmed running back to their vehicle and getting stuck onto a snowbank before being arrested in Mississauga, Ont.
Read more: https://t.co/6M8onq6btG pic.twitter.com/HoMbmvULaf — Globalnews.ca (@globalnews) January 6, 2021
One of the more interesting captures occurred when Kennevo, a Twitch streamer, used his robots to help police catch a porch pirate:
So!! Yesterday's stream was such a huge success! We caught our porch pirate and have all the live footage! I've now sent in a police report with their full name, address, and evidence! WE GOTTEM FAM! — Kennevo (@Kennevo) July 17, 2021
You can see the live stream on his YouTube channel.
5. Don’t Forget to Smile
Porch piracy is a really disappointing and maddening crime, but sometimes you just can’t help but laugh about it.
For instance, this video of a bear stealing a box of chocolates is sure to put a smile on your face.
That video comes from La Verne, California, which backs up to a large National Forest. That bear didn’t have any problem getting away with its package, but it looks like this little possum might have bit of a little more than it could chew when it tried to do the same thing:
An even smaller box bandit, this squirrel is a repeat offender, stashing its booting in nearby bushes.
Don’t worry, we have just the animal to combat these furry fiends. Meet Zero the Hero, a dog that stopped a porch pirate in Ogden, Utah.
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