Prevent Porch Pirates from Stealing Your Christmas Presents
Each year, thousands of people fall victim to porch pirates. Porch pirates are people who steal delivered packages from people’s from doors or porches. In 2017, 30% of Americans reported having a package stolen this way. The porch-stealing epidemic runs rampant in wealthier cities like San Francisco and Seattle, but it can happen anywhere, anytime. Just like all crimes, the motive varies. While some thieves regift the packages, others sell them off for cash. These clever criminals tend to roam the streets during the day when most unsuspecting homeowners are working. With the ease and popularity of online shopping has come extensive theft. To prevent porch pirates, we offer a few tips here to understand thieve’s motives and to protect your purchases.
During November and December, you probably see mail and other shipping trucks constantly in your neighborhood. There’s an increased amount of porch theft during this 6-week time period due to the sheer number of deliveries. In fact, UPS reported they delivered over 750 million packages last year over the holiday season.
Package theft is very prevalent in both rural and suburban areas. Fortunately, there are few ways for keeping your home safe during the holiday season. Take a look at the below holiday security tips to protect your packages and Christmas presents and prevent porch pirates.
Get an Amazon Key
Just recently, Amazon unveiled their innovative Key Smart Lock Kit, exclusively for Prime members. In addition to the smart key, this system includes a security camera for your home for maximum protection. When an Amazon courier delivers a package, they scan a barcode on the package to gain entry to your house.
This also signalizes the camera to turn on and start recording. Homeowners should position the camera so it’s facing directly at the door. Every time a package is delivered, Amazon will send a confirmation along with a video. You can even use the camera as a general in-home monitoring device. While this can certainly stop porch pirates, it’s currently only available in eligible cities.
Install a home security system
If you think a home security system won’t stop a porch thief, think again. Nowadays, home security companies offer much more than the standard alarm system. Take Guardian Protection as an example. Their Edge Premium package comes with wifi security cameras and a home automation device. When you’re not home, the Guardian team monitors unusual activity around your house and notifies authorities.
Another good option is Vivint, which offers a camera and motion sensor to keep your deliveries and home safe during the holidays. The camera lets you see anyone who comes to your door without them knowing. While security systems protect more than just your packages, they are great to have during Christmas to protect from thieves. Installing one of these systems is a long-term investment will certainly help prevent porch pirates.
Use a signature on delivery
For a small extra fee, you can have your package and presents require a signature upon delivery. The United States Postal Service, for example, charges only $3 for this extra protection. Most internet retailers will also automatically add signature verification on high-priced items.
While adding a signature is a good option for holiday theft prevention, there are some downsides. If the carrier tries to deliver while you’re not home, the package will get sent back the post office for you to retrieve. If you never pick it up, the post office will eventually return the package to the sender. On the plus side, some companies like UPS let authorized individuals sign for your package if you’re not home.
Deliver your packages to work
Your office or place of employment may let you receive packages there during work hours. If you work at a smaller company, you can probably just step outside and grab your package. In larger companies, the receptionist may have to hold it for you to ensure package theft prevention. Nonetheless, it’s always a good idea to check with your company to see if it is permitted.
You may want to ensure your package doesn’t go to your company’s mailroom, either. Remember, it’s not the mailroom staff’s job to watch over your personal deliveries. Try to get the package delivered to your company’s front desk so you can retrieve it as soon as it arrives.
Use a smart locker
In addition to their Smart Key, Amazon created another way to prevent porch pirates: the Amazon Locker. If you opt for this type of delivery, the courier will send your package to a physical locker. You can find these clever pickup stations at various brick and mortar stores, including Whole Foods. Using this delivery method is super easy and doesn’t come at an extra cost.
When your order is delivered to the locker, Amazon will send you a unique code. Enter this code at the locker and the compartment holding your package will open up. Since Amazon only holds your package for three days, you can’t forget to pick it up. If you miss the time frame for retrieving your package, it’s returned to Amazon and the money is refunded back to you.
Consider a Package Guard
Even though it doesn’t always prevent thieves, a Package Guard might scare them off. Resembling a frisbee, this device signals the carrier to place the package on top of it. When the package touches the guard, you will get a notification on your cell phone. If anyone tries to remove the package from its resting place, an alarm will go off. In fact, this safety mechanism even works for multiple packages.
The downside to the Package Guard is that there’s no camera. Also, the alarm doesn’t stop a thief from running off with your Christmas presents. For more monitoring options to prevent porch pirates, a home security system with a camera is really the best way to go.
Nothing dampens your holiday spirits more than a stolen package. Whether you ship to an Amazon locker or get a security system, you don’t have to break the bank. No matter where you live, taking theft protection measures is crucial. If you live in a wealthy and well-off neighborhood, you might be more at risk. By implementing one of the tips we have highlighted, you can easily protect your valuable purchases and prevent porch pirates. Don’t let package thieves win this holiday season. Take extra steps to make sure none of your packages end up missing.
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