CAPE CORAL, Fla. — As more and more people do their holiday shopping online, delivery services are hustling to get packages to homes before Christmas. It's as good a time as any to make sure any parcels you may be expecting actually get into your hands - and not into the sticky fingers of a "porch pirate."
"Home surveillance is wonderful," said Sergeant Phil Mullen of the Cape Coral Police Department. "It does cost money, but the systems are going down in cost and up in quality."
But to avoid the thefts altogether, Mullen suggests making arrangements with carriers like UPS and the U.S. Postal Service so that packages aren't dropped off unless you are home.
"Set up a time for it to be delivered," Mullen said. "Or, you can ask for a signature upon delivery so they won't leave it unless it's with you. Or, you could have a trusted neighbor pick it up."
A viral video shows what happened when NASA engineer Mark Rober used his skills to rig an elaborate "glitter bomb" inside a bait package on his front porch. He also had cameras inside the phony parcel, recording the reactions of the thieves who snatched the parcel.
"I don't know if I would go to that much effort," Mullen said. "You would have to leave this thing out, and hope that a thief comes along."
Mullen said nine parcel thefts had been reported in Cape Coral since the beginning of 2018.