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Porch pirates a 'daily' problem in Montreal West

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Montreal West is known for its large porches, but around the holidays, those porches are a big target for thieves or "porch pirates."

"It's something we deal with on a daily basis," said Montreal West councillor responsible for public security Lauren Small-Pennefather.

Small-Pennefather said packages are stolen from homes regularly, and while there are bylaws and police officers in the community who know about the problem, she said porch pirates are getting smarter.

"You have people that are following the vehicles, and when they see a parcel that's dropped off, they then go and take the parcel if nobody comes to the door to retrieve the parcel," she said.

A recent FedEx survey found that porch thefts are on the rise in Canada. According to the survey, one in four Canadians have had a package stolen, and as more people install porch security cameras, more acts of porch piracy are being caught on video.

Provincial police (SQ) are urging Quebecers not to post the clips online because they say there could be a case for defamation.

"You cannot post the images yourself because you have to remember, in Canada, we have a presumption of innocence and posting that picture could be a violation of private life," said SQ communications officer Lt. Benoit Richard.

Instead, Richard said to call 911 if anything was stolen.

"If you get some proof that somebody might have stolen something, call the police, give that proof to the police," he said. "We'll do the investigation, bring that person to justice and file some charges."

To avoid getting to that point, Small-Pennefather recommended some precautions to take.

"One is that you can actually ask to have a signature for the parcel, which means they cannot leave it at your door," she said. "You can also make arrangements with the carrier to pick it up from the depot."

Consumer Reports recommends the following other tips to avoid porch piracy:

  • If You Order From Amazon or Walmart, Consider Granting Inside Access
  • Monitor Your Front Porch With a Security Camera or Video Doorbell
  • Give the Delivery Service Special Instructions
  • Use a Package Delivery Box or an Amazon Pickup Location
  • Keep Tabs on Your Packages by Signing Up for Alerts 

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