The Grinch may have stolen Christmas, but package thieves operate year round and steal thousands of packages every year. Unattended packages are almost irresistible to curious children and nosy neighbors too. Use these tips to stop package theft.
Security Cameras Catch Thieves on Video
Doorstep package theft is the ultimate “crime of opportunity.” Thieves can’t plan their caper in advance because there’s no guarantee that you’ll be receiving a package on a particular day or specific time. Some intrepid bandits up the odds by following delivery trucks.
For example, Los Angeles police broke up a ring of thieves that used the UPS smart phone app to track delivery trucks and steal packages:
Home security cameras can’t stop crime, but they can help the police catch the criminals. In the LA case, the victim’s security camera showed police their faces, the vehicle, and even the license plate. GetSafe’s 1080p night vision security camera records movement within the camera’s range, sends an alert to you (and our alarm monitoring center), and lets you save the video to turn over to police.
Security cameras help deter a number of sketchy activities.
- Convicted burglars tell researchers that they’re likely to stay away from properties that have security systems.
- Neighborhood thieves stay way because they know you’ll probably recognize them.
- The busybody next door (the snoop who likes to gossip about who’s getting packages from lingerie retailers or online pharmacies) might not like being caught on video either.
- Curious children often can’t resist the idea of giving Christmas packages an early examination. They certainly wouldn’t want that video forwarded to Santa!
Fight Package Theft with Alternate Delivery Options
In 2015, InsuranceQuotes.com reported that approximately 23 million Americans have had packages stolen. Those number rise each year as more people order online and increasingly order household staples along with more valuable items. That big Amazon box on the doorstep could contain a case of toilet paper or a luxury sheet and comforter set. No matter: thieves will take it anyway.
Since the loss of either item could be quite inconvenient, many people take advantage of alternate delivery options. Most of these services are free, but check with the carrier for specifics:
- Amazon Locker: Ship your items to a designated “Amazon Locker” location and enter a security code to retrieve it. You can also return items at these locations.
- Federal Express Delivery Manager: Register at FedEx to request delivery holds, change delivery locations, sign remotely, and more.
- UPS MyChoice: The basic version of this service alerts you to delivery dates and expected delivery times. The service also allows you to reroute packages, reschedule delivery dates, leave instructions to the driver, and more.
- UPS AccessPoints: UPS has partnered with a network of neighborhood to offer secure locations for package deliveries and pickups. The shipper is also experimenting with AccessPoint Lockers in limited locations.
- USPS: Your local post office offers a number of free delivery options. Just create an account, and you can authorize packages to be left at your front door, back porch, neighbor’s house, or hold the delivery for pickup at your local post office. GoPost self-service package lockers are open even when the local post office is closed.
In some cases, the “alternate location” options (like pickup lockers) require online retailers to register with the carrier so that consumers can choose that location during check out. Be sure to look for alternate delivery options when you check out.
Unfortunately, burglary is all too common, and a neighborhood where package theft is common is also at risk for other crimes. Check out our tips for preventing burglary for more home safety suggestions.