“Porch pirates” are a major problem in many communities around the world, particularly during the holiday season. For those unfamiliar with the term, these are people who follow around delivery trucks and wait for packages to be left on the front porches of homes when the owner is not around. Once the delivery truck is gone, they steal the package — and whatever items were contained inside.
Police in Hayward are not only aware of this situation, but they’re also trying to put a stop to it by any means necessary. That’s why they recently turned to the wonders of modern technology in an attempt to curb this epidemic for now and for all time.
Porch Pirates and the Case of the GPS Trackers
Police in the Hayward area recently arrested a suspected “porch pirate” and turned to GPS tracking technology in order to do it. They partnered with a local man who had been the victim of package theft in the past. The man already had security cameras installed around the perimeter of his home, so he was the perfect candidate for this type of project.
Police shipped a package to the man that had a GPS tracker hidden inside. Sure enough, a porch pirate who had recently been targeting the area took the bait. Not only was he caught on camera stealing the actual package, but thanks to the aforementioned GPS tracker the police were also able to track him for the remainder of the afternoon.
Whether he suspected he was being followed is unknown, but for whatever reason the man left the stolen package in his car and then did NOT park the car in his own driveway. He did park close enough to his home, however, that the police were able to easily locate him. Not only did they find other evidence that this particular man was up to no good, but they also found a wide range of additional stolen items, including a stuffed bear that had been previously taken from a home in Fremont.
While this particular story does have a happy ending, it is clear that the work of the Hayward Police Department is far from over. In a totally separate case, officers are looking for two men who they believe to be responsible for the thefts of several packages throughout the area. One of them is described as tall and slender, believed to be a young adult or juvenile male. In addition to being confronted by several neighbors of victims, one of the two men was also captured on a security photo. The police have yet to make an arrest in this case, but officials indicate that they’ve been getting a lot of excellent feedback and helpful tips and that the criminals aren’t too far from apprehension.
This is certainly not the first time that companies have turned to a decidedly tech-based solution in an attempt to curb package theft as much as possible. Technology giant Amazon even recently launched a program that will allow certified delivery drivers to enter your home if you’re not around to make deliveries. After signing up to participate in the program, you’re given a special type of lock to install on your door that only certified drivers have access to. If a delivery is attempted and you’re not home, the driver can punch in their special code and gain entry, leaving the package behind. The door will even automatically lock itself again once the driver is gone.
The unfortunate fact of the matter is that porch pirates and other package thieves will likely continue to be a problem, especially as more and more people around the world do the majority of their shopping online. One thing is for certain, however: With the power of modern technology on our side, it won’t be too long before we stop this issue dead in its tracks. Whether you’ll need to conduct a sting operation with the local police department or let an Amazon delivery driver into your home remains to be seen.