Shipping holiday packages during COVID-19

How an increase of mailing is potentially causing an increase in porch pirates

TRI-CITIES, Wash. — For the U.S. Postal Service and other mail carriers, the holiday rush of shopping and shipping is the busiest time of year.

With the coronavirus pandemic pushing shoppers online however, they already hit peak numbers this past summer. “It reached a peak for awhile where it was probably as heavy as what was a normal holiday mailing season for previous years without a pandemic,” said U.S. Postal Service Strategic Communications Specialist Ernie Swanson.

An increase in packages also means a potential increase in porch pirates, something local law enforcement is trying to notify the public about.

Some of the suggestions include:

  • Having someone pick up the package for you when delivered
  • Install security cameras
  • Have packages delivered to your place of work
  • Build security boxes that mailmen can place packages in
  • Pay for secure shipping (where someone has to sign for the package)
  • Pick up packages at the post office

For Pasco Police Officer Alex Michel, security cameras are a huge help in tracking down porch pirates. “Other people have cameras on like the outside of their houses and we were able to get a vehicle plate, that usually helps us out a lot with a lead,” said Michel.

In order to get packages in on time in the first place, Swanson has one main piece of advice? Ship things sooner rather than later. ” If the parcel gets there a couple of days ahead of Christmas, that’s certainly better than a couple of days after Christmas,” said Swanson.

Swanson, who has over 40 years experience with the post office, is confident they’ll get the job done.

“We’re very experienced at this, we’ve been doing Christmas/Holiday stuff for years and years and it’s just slightly different this time around and, we do ask our customers to bear with us and understand that things are a little different this year.”