Historically, the holidays have been the biggest draw for package theft. But year-round deals, online shopping sprees, and the overall increase in e-commerce activity have made every day a good day for porch pirates.
More than 40% of Americans receive packages three to five times a month, and over 20% have packages delivered six or more times a month. That has opened to door for more than 30% of consumers to fall victim to package theft.
But since you can’t always be home to sign for all of those deliveries, here are some other ways to win against porch burglars.
Get it on video
Surveillance cameras may not stop thieves, but they might provide enough evidence to bring your stolen packages back home. Cameras capture information like facial features and car models that can aid police in their search. Video surveillance shows you what time of day porch pirates are visiting and what techniques they’re using, such as following delivery trucks, coming in disguise, or employing accomplices.
You might even catch questionable behavior like someone going door-to-door or slowing down a vehicle to get a good look at porches. If you spot any suspicious activity like this, you can notify police and alert your neighbors on community forums or apps like Nextdoor.
Sealing packages is an easy crime. If a package is visible from the street or sidewalk, your home could be a target.
Delivery companies including UPS, FedEx, and Amazon give recipients the option to specify a dropoff location or leave instructions for the driver. So if you can, designate a place that’s out of sight, such as behind a screen door or pillar or near a side or back entrance. You may want to avoid taping notes to your door because package thieves will be able to see them.
Let them in
If you’re comfortable with allowing couriers behind locked doors, you can use a service like Amazon Key, which allows Amazon drivers into your home, car, or garage to deposit packages. Walmart is testing out a similar experience with groceries, where drivers will come into your home to put away your order while you’re out.
These services may not be a good fit if you have pets or privacy concerns, but they certainly succeed in hiding and securing deliveries.
Reroute or reschedule
Rather than staying home on delivery day, send couriers to a different address. This might be your workplace or with a friend or relative who will be home during the day. Alternatively, you can ask a neighbor to look out for your package and hold it for you at their place.
Some delivery companies will even allow you to schedule deliveries for evenings, weekends, or other times you’ll be home. These benefits might require you to sign up for an account or buy a membership. For example, Amazon Day lets Prime members choose the day of the week when all their orders arrive. There are also services like Doorman that will accept your packages, secure them in a warehouse, and deliver them during more convenient hours.
Pick up at the post office or store
If you’d rather avoid the last-mile delivery headache, you can request that your local post office or shipping center hold your packages. However, most of those places have normal business hours, so you might need to cut out of work to retrieve your packages.
Since stores typically have longer hours, a better option might be to take advantage of buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS). Not every retailer has this service available, but for those that do, it’s a great way to combine the convenience of online ordering with the security of in-store pick-up.
Some stores are taking advantage of smart package lockers to protect BOPIS and buy online, return in store (BORIS) orders and also to speed up the pick-up process. Once orders are ready, employees place them in one of the lockers, and you receive a notification with instructions for unlocking your order. When you’re ready, you can retrieve your order from the locker within seconds. If the lockers are located outside the store, you can even get your items when the store is closed.
Check out Smiota’s smart package lockers to learn more about securing online orders in commercial, multifamily, retail, and student housing properties.