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‘Porch pirates’ are under academic surveillance on...

‘Porch pirates’ are under academic surveillance on ‘MTSU On the Record’

The next “MTSU On the Record” radio program will examine whether that package on your porch is safe from theft. 

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Melody Hicks will air from 9:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, and from 6 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, March 22, on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and

Melody Hicks, master’s candidate, criminal justice administration

Melody Hicks

Hicks, a master’s degree candidate in criminal justice from Manchester, Tennessee, co-authored what is the first known academic study of “porch piracy,” the theft of delivered packages from outside people’s homes while they are away.

By screening videos of “porch piracies” posted on YouTube between February and March 2018, the researchers were able to learn about package size, proximity to the road, whether vehicles were used and other factors.

“Typical situational crime-prevention methods didn’t seem to have any effect whatsoever on deterring porch pirates,” Hicks said. “Gates were not effective if they were there … The porch pirates didn’t seem to be deterred by the property owner’s vehicle being present. It’s just very brazen behavior.”

Hicks’ co-authors are her faculty mentor, associate professor of criminal justice administration Ben Stickle; mathematical sciences lecturer Amy Stickle; and Zachary Hutchinson, who holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration and is pursuing a degree in professional computer science.

The article was published Dec. 30, 2019, in the academic journal Criminal Justice Studies. You can read it here.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at

For more information about the radio program, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.