Don’t let thieves ruin your holidays.
You’ve probably heard of the phenomenon of “porch pirates” over the past few years, and maybe you’ve even been unfortunately affected by such a package theft yourself. If you haven’t already taken precautionary measures to safeguard your deliveries for the holiday season, we’ve compiled some tips for how to keep your packages from getting into the wrong hands. While there is a bit of overlap, we’ve broken our suggestions down into three categories:
- Technology solutions
- Logistical solutions
- “People” solutions
How to keep your deliveries safe technology solutions
One of the quickest and easiest solutions to the problem of package theft is to install some sort of security device to monitor your front porch. A video doorbell from Ring or Nest, or a dedicated porch security camera from Blink are ideal because they allow you to monitor your home on a whim, and they will send you notifications when they pick up motion. Some of the more sophisticated ones can even monitor pre-defined areas (so they’re not paying attention to what is going on down the street), and can even identify specific faces. Most of these devices also allow you to converse with the person on your porch as well, so you can identify who they are and/or scare them away.
Ding dong, who’s there?
Ring Video Doorbell 2
$200 at Amazon
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 comes in battery or wired versions, offers 1080p video resolution, motion detection, and a wide field of view. It’s perfect for keeping your packages safe over the holiday season.
Many delivery services like Amazon will not only send you a notification that your package has been delivered, but they will also take a photo of the package on your doorstep. Granted, this is just as much about covering their own backsides as protecting your delivery, but the visual confirmation can alert you to take measures to secure your package ASAP, whether that be with you picking it up or having a trusted person secure it for you.
Another technological measure you can take is to purchase and install a package container or drop box on your porch. This isn’t always the most attractive solution, but for small and medium-sized envelopes and packages, it can be an effective one. Some of these are large enough to sit on your front porch and not be stolen themselves, but you still might consider mounting it to the wall or ground for good measure.
How to keep your deliveries safe logistical solutions
One of the most secure delivery options at your disposal is a specialty service such as Amazon Key or UPS/Latch. Amazon Key was introduced in 2017 and allows Amazon delivery representatives to access your home, garage, or vehicle to securely drop off packages (with your explicit permission, of course). The service is available in specific zip codes across the country and requires an Amazon Key compatible hardware solution (smart locks, garage door openers, specific vehicle models, etc). Latch is a smart home hardware startup that is trying to deliver on the same security promise and has partnered with UPS to pilot a similar program to Amazon Key.
If a delivery service like Amazon Key isn’t available in your area, or if you don’t feel comfortable letting a delivery person into your property, perhaps you could locate a locker delivery solution such as Amazon Locker or Walmart Tower. These services allow you to have your packages safely delivered to a set of stand-alone lockers located at retail outlets, housing developments, and other public areas.
Another option is to have your package delivered to a local mail/package supply outlet, or a branch of a UPS or FedEx store. These locations are fully-staffed and equipped to keep your packages safe until you can come by to pick them up. Some allow you to direct your shipments to them, while others may require you to rent an onsite mailbox.
Finally, here’s a couple other quick and easy options that should be available to just about everyone. First off, if it’s okay with your boss and you have the room, why not have your holiday packages delivered to your office? You can stack them up in the corner of your cubicle until it’s time to take them home and hide them in the closet. Additionally, you might want to check with your credit card company or homeowners/renters insurance provider, as both may cover lost/stolen packages.
How to keep your deliveries safe people solutions
A tactic that many of my friends have found simple yet effective is to schedule deliveries for the same day each week, when they or a trusted family member or friend will be home to receive them. Amazon offers a delivery option it calls Amazon Day that lets you do just this during the checkout process. This has the added benefit of helping to reduce your carbon footprint by minimizing delivery trips and packaging!
Finally, if you can, try to make it so that your deliveries require a signature for delivery. Most shipping companies offer this as an option, so be sure to look into this before you ship your holiday packages. The one downside to this strategy is that it can delay your packages if no one is around to sign for them.
Now you are equipped with a variety of ways to better protect your holiday packages from prying eyes and hands. It’s likely that one or more of these options are available to you so that hopefully all of your deliveries will arrive safely and securely as intended.