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How to protect yourself from porch pirates as holidays kick into high gear

Security.org reports 18% of Texans have had a package stolen this year for a median value of $45.

HOUSTON — It happens year-round, but when December hits it seems like those pesky package thieves are on the loose in every neighborhood, and it's not just Houston.

"Forty-nine million Americans have had a package stolen in the 12 months leading up to that study," said Corey Wagner, a senior industry analyst at security.org

Harris County Precinct 4 deputy constables arrested a teen just last week after hitting multiple homes in the Atascocita area. 

According to experts at security.org, Texas is in the middle of the pack when it comes to package thefts. Around 18% of Texans have had a package stolen in the last year. The median value of what's been taken is $45. 

Naturally, folks are desperate for solutions. It's why products like the Blank Box surged to popularity going viral years ago. It creates a shocking blast when a package is picked up off the ground. It's intended to scare off criminals, but experts warn against it.

"I also wouldn't recommend it," said Wagner. "You could become a criminal yourself or just invite more trouble."

Instead, Wagner suggests other less legally risque deterrents, things like installing security or doorbell cameras. If your packages are swiped, the footage could be useful for police. 

No-brainers like having your packages shipped to your work or a family member's home and requesting a signature for delivery are also easy alternatives. 

But Wagner's biggest advice - protect those very expensive items at all costs. 

"Shopping the old fashioned way, going into the store and actually buying the goods in person or doing curbside pick-up," said Wagner. 

It's not the most convenient or tech-savvy option, but it definitely is the safest one when high-value sought-after items are on the line.

"That makes a great gift, but it's enticing to see those types of items left outside your house," said Wagner. 

For more information on package theft statistics, check out security.org.

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