As the holiday season approaches, package thieves, or “porch pirates,” are making off with your packages left at the front door.

Sheriff Lott speaks out

Richland County Sheriff Leon says when it comes to the holiday season, the department is on alert.

“We always catch them, and Ring doorbells have been a big help with identifying the person. Usually, when people report an incident of porch pirating, they can give a description. It only takes around ten minutes. But it is essential to always report an incident to the authority to handle it,” says Lott.

Now, with technology, tracking when a package will reach the doorstep is easier. Lott continued to say that in preparation for the holidays, ensuring that once someone orders a package, they look at the delivery tracking notifications consistently is critical.

Caught on Video

University of South Carolina student Maddy Vanderweele has been a victim of porch pirating, and the proof was on her security camera.

“I received a notification on my security camera, and I was watching a man shoving our packages in his pants. I was watching it and couldn’t even do anything,” says Vanderweele. In this situation, there’s not much you can do, if you’re not home. And even if you are, Sheriff Lott says don’t interact with a porch pirate, when they are in the act of stealing. Calling authorities should be the first thing a person does if they catch someone stealing from their porch.

Delivery Lockers

At the University of South Carolina, Amazon delivery lockers surround the campus. The locker will only open if you have a specific code number via text or email.

Lott brings in the only other safe route to avoid being porch pirated if there is no locker for packages to be delivered.

“You always need to be prepared. Either you or a friend you trust needs to be the one to pick up your package. Packages should never be left outside your door all day,” expresses Lott.

It has been proven that the longer a package is left outside the doorstep, the more likely it is to be stolen.

Porch pirating nationwide

According to, despite security measures and advances, the problem remains pervasive. With a recent study, updated its annual package theft research. Out of 1-thousand people surveyed, over 17% have been victims of porch pirating.

Along with this research, in the past three months nationwide, over 44 million people have been affected by porch thefts, and data will likely increase with the upcoming holiday season.

Overall solution

The best prevention steps include checking delivery tracking apps, having a trusted friend pick up the package, and having security footage to show authorities.