Imagine the following scenario: you’ve purchased an expensive item online, but since the package arrives while you’re at work, the deliveryman leaves it at your doorstep. Before you get back home, someone walks by your porch and sees an unattended package. Without anyone noticing, they grab the item and run away, never to be seen again. This is a true story for over one-third of Americans. Porch piracy is a real thing, and if you aren’t careful, the goods you bought with your hard-earned money can easily get stolen. To help, we compiled a list of the best ways to prevent package theft. Spoiler alert: using Amazon or Walmart’s in-door delivery isn’t one of them.
Require a Signature for Delivery
One of the most straightforward ways to guarantee that your delivery doesn’t sit on your front doorstep for hours is to make sure that the package can only be delivered with a signature. This way, the delivery driver will have to ring the doorbell and only leave the item if someone answers the door. Unfortunately, this won’t work if you have a nine-to-five job. If no one is there to get the package, you’ll have to go to the shipping company’s office to reclaim your delivery. A way to circumvent this is by installing doorbell cameras provided by companies like Blink. These devices send a video notification to your phone when the delivery driver rings the doorbell, and if you’re not home, you can call a neighbor and ask them to get the package for you.
Have Packages Delivered Elsewhere
If you’re certain that you won’t be at home when a delivery arrives, the cheapest way to make sure your package is secure is by setting the delivery address somewhere else. For instance, if you work in a company that allows you to receive personal mail, you can have your goods delivered to your workplace. On the other hand, if you have a loved one or a friend who is usually at home during working hours, get the item delivered to their house instead. Retired seniors, remote workers, or someone working night shifts are some examples of people who could help you with this.
Take Advantage of Smart Lockers
Some companies, including Amazon, have developed smart lockers to ensure a safe package arrival. These are intelligent drop-off points that lock your package via an electronic code. When someone drops off your package, you get a text or email notification with the locker number and password, allowing you to collect your package when it’s more convenient.
Get a Package Lockbox
If you don’t have a smart locker nearby, you can place a package lockbox on your porch, which automatically locks when the deliveryman puts the item inside. There are various options available, and you can even create a package lockbox yourself – you just need to get an old trunk that you don’t use and a locker. However, this can still be risky, as you’ll have to rely on the deliveryman to lock the trunk themselves before leaving.
For extra peace of mind, you can go with a more technological solution that does everything automatically. The device scans the package’s bar code to open and locks when the deliveryman closes the lid. When you get back home, you can then unlock the lockbox by inserting a specific code.
Install Surveillance Cameras
Useful for more than catching the criminal that’s stealing your package, surveillance cameras also scare away any culprits from coming near your house. Having a surveillance camera visible at your front door is guaranteed to protect your packages from being stolen. You can even go a step further by installing a motion sensor that comes with some home security systems like Frontpoint Security. By placing the sensor near the package’s location, you’ll get a phone notification when anyone goes near your item, allowing you to check your camera’s live feed and see if anyone is trying to take it.
Display Home Security Decals
Like the surveillance cameras, showing criminals that you use a home security system can be enough to scare them off. That’s why most people who get this service proudly display the name of the company they’re using. So, we recommend displaying a decal or sign showing that you use a home security system to protect your house. For instance, Vivint’s bright-orange sign is perfect for grabbing any criminal’s attention and making them think twice before attempting to steal your package.
Stay Away From Booby Traps
Booby trapping packages has become a somewhat popular (and Home Alone-inspired) way of fighting porch piracy in the past few years, but we strongly advise against it. While the image of a thief running away from your home covered in glitter is quite amusing, you may end up facing legal problems and even jail time if someone gets hurt in the process.
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