Yes – A Friend or Neighbor Could Be a Porch Pirate

It’s funny how the human brain is so quick to embrace preconceived notions. Take porch pirates, for example. When you hear stories of stolen packages in the news, what images does your brain conjure up? If you are like most people, you have an image of what a porch pirate looks like. You would never expect that person to be a friend or neighbor.

The strange thing about crime is that anyone can commit it. While it is true that professional criminals tend to be a seedy bunch whose daily lives reflect how they make their living, the average person on the street could be a criminal and you wouldn’t even know it. Take the case of a Providence, RI real estate agent recently busted on porch piracy charges.

Video footage of the incident reveal someone whose image doesn’t fit our preconceived notions of what a criminal looks like. This guy looks like anyone else you could meet on the street. He looks like the guy who lives next door or who you regularly run into down at the gym. He could even be your neighbor.

Stolen Packages and a Doormat

This particular case involved stolen packages and a doormat. Homeowners on the east side of Providence contacted police in early June 2021 after being victimized by the alleged porch pirate. He was caught thanks to video footage obtained from the home’s video doorbell.

The home was equipped with a Ring doorbell similar to those sold by Vivint Smart Home. According to Vivint, video doorbells are among the most effective tools for deterring porch pirates. And even when thieves are not deterred, video evidence can be used to track them down.

A video doorbell is an electronic device that combines the basic functions of a traditional doorbell with a video camera and on-board audio system. The doorbell and its video feed can be constantly monitored with a mobile app.

Getting back to the Rhode Island case, video footage of the theft provided a clear image of the suspect from the waist up. All police had to do was circulate that video footage. It quickly led to identification and arrest. Police also recovered the stolen packages and doormat.

The Camera Doesn’t Lie

It is unclear whether or not the suspect in this case knew his activity was being monitored via video doorbell. If he did and persisted anyway, he proves the old adage that criminals aren’t the brightest bulbs on the Christmas tree. And if he didn’t know, he knows now.

He also knows that the camera doesn’t lie. He was caught red-handed with his face in full view. It is hard to imagine he would not plead guilty to avoid going to trial. They have him on video stealing from his victims.

More Diligent About Prevention

For the rest of us, the Providence case is a reminder that we all need to be more diligent about prevention. In a day and age in which we are all pretty much shopping online, porch pirates driving through neighborhoods are finding a veritable buffet of packages to steal. We have to take all available steps to prevent them from getting what they want.

From video doorbells to porch safes and simply having packages delivered to a neighbor’s house, there are lots of ways to prevent porch piracy. It is a matter of finding a way that works best for each of us. The harder we make it to steal packages from our porches, the more compelled porch pirates will be to find another line of work. That’s really the end goal here.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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