Technology has made it very convenient to purchase just about anything and have it delivered at our doorstep. Online buying and package delivery has really become the norm for retail shopping. However, especially during the holiday season, there’s an unfortunate piece of news – “porch pirates” – those modern day thieves who steal packages from doorsteps. In a report from Package Guard, it claims that 11 million US homeowners have had packages stolen from their front door or porch in 2017, and those numbers are due to be higher by the end of this year.
There are a number of things you can do to keep your holiday treasures safe, while having a little extra peace of mind that the perfect gift you purchased for a loved one will actually end up where it’s supposed to be.
These self-serve delivery kiosks are located in more than 2,000 spots across 50 U.S. cities. You can ship an item to an Amazon Locker and then pick it up at a convenient time. While shopping at Amazon, you can add this location to your shipping address book and each time you check out an item, you can select the locker as your shipping address. Once an item has been delivered to the locker, Amazon will email you the unique sic-digit code to use to retrieve it. Most items can be shipped to Amazon Lockers, but they have size and weight restrictions and you are allowed 3 calendar days to pick it up or it will be returned to Amazon for a refund. There is no additional cost to use Amazon Locker but standard shipping rates (including free Amazon Prime two-day shipping) will apply.
The Amazon Key Smart Lock Kit enables keyless entry, guest access, and in-home delivery. With the Amazon Key Smart Lock Kit, you can schedule access for guests, friends, and family, and remotely control your lock from any location. With the compatible camera you can watch motion videos or live stream of anyone who enters and exits your home. Prime members who live in eligible zip codes can receive in-home delivery of eligible Prime items. If you are not comfortable having a complete stranger open your front door, or, if you have pets, this service is probably not for you.
Ship to Your Office
Another trick is to ship packages to your office (if the boss doesn’t mind you doing this). Generally, office delivery is during the day and there are employees accepting packages at a reception area or mailroom area, so that nothing is left unattended. The only issue is evening and weekend delivery, so this method isn’t foolproof, but typically will work well for most people.
There are many outdoor security cameras which are very reliable. Many provide real-time alerts or are designed to be weatherproof. These cameras can send live alerts to your smartphone and some models can be equipped with a built-in speaker and mic, letting you ask the FedEx delivery person to leave the package on the porch or help you scare away would be thieves. Don’t let the thought of technology scare you. With so many products on the market today, there are outdoor systems that don’t require a technician and are quite simple to set up. Many of these cameras are also weatherproof and support temperatures from 14 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, rain or shine. Many of these devices just plug in the WiFI-enabled camera and have a downloadable app. Whether you are in the market for a simple or more sophisticated system, there’s a product out there for you. Just think a little bit about what your needs are, and your budget. Need a jump start to your research?
Porch Pirate Bag
An item which is growing in popularity is called the Porch Pirate Bag. This nifty little bag is a 30 inch x 40 inch PVC Reinforced Ballistic Nylon Bag which locks to a front door handle, side gate, or porch post. Although it could be cut, it most likely will deter a would be thief who is looking for a loose package to grab and go.
Perhaps there are retired people or a few stay-at-home moms or dads who live nearby. Community effort certainly brings people together and if you can ask a trusting neighbor to watch for deliveries and pick up packages and hold them for you, it will keep boxes from piling up which is always a target that the thieves search out while roaming neighborhoods. Thank the trusting neighbor who holds those precious boxes by bringing them some holiday treats. Perhaps you can run an errand or help them with a chore. Generally would be thieves are scoping out neighborhoods by driving around in their cars and checking out homes to target. If you see a suspicious car circling the block several times, or following a delivery truck and lingering, make note of the car model, and report it to the police.
Tracking and Signatures
If you track your packages online and sign up for delivery notifications, it will give you a sense of where your items are. In the event there is a delay, or a more rapid delivery than expected, you can be better prepared. If you request a signature, the downside is that someone will need to be home. Perhaps you can send the item to a friend or family member who is typically home during the day. If you have it sent to your own home, and you work during the day, you may need to take a trip to the post office on a Saturday.
Crooks will target a home that is dark. If you have a busy schedule, you can program lights with a timer to go on before it’s dark outside. It will appear that someone is home. A small change like this can deter a thief. Motion detector lights can be helpful, too.
Porch pirates are a concern to anyone who shops online, but you don’t have to let them steal your holiday cheer – take a few simple steps and protect your treasures!