Stolen Packages? How You Can Help Catch “Porch Pirates”

It happens all too often: UPS drops a package on your doorstep, but a thief picks it up before you do — in broad daylight. And you’re left wondering what’s taking so darn long for your delivery.

A recent example involved a thief in San Fernando Valley who used a UPS tracking app to scoop up packages minutes after they were delivered. In this case, the homeowner had a home security camera system. The footage revealed the UPS driver delivering two boxes, and seconds later, a U-Haul pulling up to his driveway and the thief making off with the boxes.

“I watched him walk up my driveway and steal the packages and leave,” the homeowner, Rick Deckman said. “I was blown away.”

Caught in the act

Fortunately, one of his home security cameras caught a clear shot of the U-Haul’s license plate. Detectives were able to track the vehicle and arrest the thieves — a man and his accomplice who turn out to have stolen hundreds of packages from porches all over the San Fernando Valley.

The obvious moral to this story is that it pays to have home security cameras. A less obvious one is this: if you register your system with the police department, you’ve increased the chance these culprits will be apprehended.

Partnering with police

Most of us know that a surveillance camera system is one of the best ways to catch and convict burglars. But few of us think about increasing its effectiveness by taking the simple step of registering it with our local police precinct.

“The footage is already there,” says Sergeant Chris Stines of the Berkeley Police Association. “The information is already being recorded. It just adds a level of organization that makes sense.”

Participation is completely voluntary, and no need to worry: the police will not have open access to your surveillance camera footage or live feeds.

What they will have is a record of the existence of your cameras, and a description of what they’re pointed at, so if and when there’s a burglary in the neighborhood, they can directly contact you to provide video that may aid in their investigation.

Police would ask registrants to check their video surveillance system for a specific date and time for footage that may show activity involved with a crime, such as a getaway car or the direction that a person of interest was headed. If any video evidence is found, the resident or business owner can contact the Crime Prevention Unit and make arrangements for video retrieval.

You’re registering your system not only for your own good, but for the benefit of your community.

How to register your security camera

Registering your business and/or residential security cameras with the local police is easy, and in most cases, can be done quickly online. Try starting with a simple web search of your city or county along with the phrase “security camera registration” to see if your city offers access to online registration. If not, call your local police station’s non-emergency number for more information.

Learn more about security alarm protection

Wireless video that integrates with a security alarm system is a proactive approach to protecting your home. With Bay Alarm Connect™ (formerly Total Connect) Remote Services, you can stay connected and in control of your home whenever you want, wherever you are. Control your security system, receive important alerts and true system status in real-time.