Approximately 23 million Americans have had at least one package stolen from their home. Home surveillance cameras have recorded such thefts in broad daylight.
But now some police departments are harnessing new technology to beat these "porch pirates" at their own game. "We're putting bait packages out there and catching the guys who are stealing these packages," said Capt. Gary Berg of the Campbell Police Department in Campbell, California.
TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen demonstrated the technology by taking a bait package off a doorstep where it had been planted by Campbell police. He didn't tell them where he was going to drive after taking it.
But thanks to the GPS tracking device the package contained, Rossen didn't have to. Despite taking a circuitous route to a remote park, he was confronted by cops within moments of stopping his car. If Rossen had been a real thief, "you'd be in handcuffs right now," Berg told him.
Other police departments are also starting to use this technology. In the meantime, a good way to avoid becoming a victim of porch pirates is to have packages delivered to your workplace if you can, or to set up delivery for a time you'll be at home.