Answer Man

UPS delivery drivers are supposed to ring your doorbell when they leave a package

Don't let 'porch pirates' ruin your holiday season

With more of us online shopping, 'porch piracy' is on the rise. Here are five tips for preventing thieves from stealing your packages.
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With more of us online shopping, 'porch piracy' is on the rise. Here are five tips for preventing thieves from stealing your packages.

Q: I ordered some items online on Thanksgiving. They came UPS. I know these poor workers are overloaded at Christmastime, but we received the package at 9:30 the other night. If I had not heard the truck, the package would have sat on our front steps all night for anyone to steal. The driver was very quiet in bringing it to the door and did not ring the doorbell. Our mailman always rings the bell with a package. Why does UPS not ring the bell anymore?

F.C., of Belleville

A: UPS package deliverers may not ring twice like that fabled movie postman, but they still are supposed to knock or buzz at least once, UPS spokeswoman Jennifer Cook says.

“Our drivers are trained to knock or ring the doorbell and announce ‘UPS’ at each delivery,” she wrote me in an email. “They can (then) ‘driver release’ packages if a signature is not required.”

Perhaps because of the hour, the driver was apprehensive about disturbing you if your house appeared dark. Or perhaps he or she missed the bell button or failed to push it hard enough or rapped so lightly you didn’t hear it through a heavy door. If you’d like to try avoiding this in the future, you might call your nearby UPS center and voice your concerns so they can re-emphasize company protocol with their employees.

Better yet, Cook suggests going to and signing up for UPS My Choice, which allows you a say in how and where your parcels are delivered. It costs nothing to receive delivery alerts and estimated delivery times, tell them to hold packages at a UPS Customer Center, give specific “leave at” instructions (back door, side of house, etc.) or tell them to deliver to a neighbor.

You can even take advantage of the company’s Access Point Network, through which UPS will deliver your package to convenience stores, dry cleaners, florists or a nearby UPS Store. More than 40 million consumers have signed up, Cook tells me. You pay a fee only if you want to change a delivery date or have a package delivered to another non-Access Point Network address.

“As for the ‘porch pirates,’ I can say the vast majority of the 750 million packages UPS will ship during this holiday season will be successfully delivered,” Cook wrote. “If a package is stolen, the customer should contact the shipper and file a police report.”

For more details, go to to help ensure none of Santa’s gifts is waylayed this Christmas season.

Today’s trivia

What Midwestern college gave birth to the first electronic digital computer?

Answer to Sunday’s trivia: On 168 “serene” acres in the heart of Smyrna, Tenn., you still can tour the boyhood home of Sam Davis, a Confederate “boy hero” in the eyes of the Sam Davis Memorial Association. In November 1863, he was caught carrying papers stolen from Union Gen. Grenville Dodge. He denied being a spy, saying he was only carrying papers stolen by another. But when Davis refused to name his accomplice, he was hanged within a week of his capture. Davis, who had just turned 21, said, “I would rather die a thousand deaths than betray a friend.”

Roger Schlueter: 618-239-2465, @RogerAnswer