UPS drivers watch closely to stop ‘porch pirates’ from stealing Christmas gifts

Keith Pickens delivers packages for UPS in the Brandon area.

Brandon, FL (WFLA) –  The holidays are one of the busiest times for the United Parcel Service. Keith Pickens would know. He’s delivered packages for UPS for the past 16 years. He works hard to keep them from being stolen.


“You try to secure the package more, so it’s not visible from the street … so nobody can see it. And so when the customer comes out it’s not even blocking them from their door,” Pickens said.

And it’s not just about hiding the boxes. These driver’s watch everything around them. Since most work the same areas all the time, they know when something’s out of place.

“You know the cars that are usually parked at certain houses, the cars that are following you. You’re paying attention to those cars. You’re being more aware of license plate numbers,” Pickens said.

The effort is to prevent so-called “porch pirates.” These are the people who lurk outside others’ homes to steal packages being delivered. That’s why UPS and other delivery companies suggest people sign up for text or email alerts to let them know when packages arrive.

Here are some interesting things to keep in mind:

  • There are 28 shopping days and 20 UPS delivery days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year (excluding Saturdays).
  • UPS is planning to deliver more than 630 million packages between Thanksgiving and Dec. 31, a more than 10 percent increase from last year.
  • UPS expects its busiest delivery day to be Tuesday, Dec. 22 with more than 36 million deliveries (compared with an average day’s 18+ million).
  • UPS now has surpassed 20 million registered members for UPS My Choice (, a free consumer service to provide text or email alerts for deliveries.
  • UPS has a Holiday Help Center on or in the playlist with animated videos to make the holidays hassle-free.

Meanwhile,  Pickens will keep dropping boxes off – and continue keeping a watchful eye for the crooks trying to grab them.

“The harder you work, there’s always somebody worker harder trying to retrieve it from you.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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