Even before the pandemic hit, Americans were buying more items online and report getting an average of 45 packages per year delivered to their homes. It is alarming to note that in a 2019 survey of 2,000 people who shopped online, 36 percent reported having a package stolen and only 11 percent said their ‘porch pirate’ was caught.
They also reported that they spend an average of over $200 a month on online orders. Of those that had packages stolen, only 73 percent reported that they received a refund on the item stolen.2 Given that online shopping will likely increase this holiday season, knowing how to protect your packages can save you from losing valuable items and your hard earned money.
As a trusted Locksmith for over 10 years, we have a few tips for you.
Install a visible home security camera or doorbell camera. Wi-Fi phone doorbell cameras like Ring and Google Nest range in cost from $99 to $229 and allow you to monitor your entryway around the clock and record footage that may be used to apprehend your package thief. These cameras allow you to hear and see what is going on, and to vocally respond by using an app on your smartphone or computer.
Don’t forget to also install motion detecting lighting since winter brings shorter periods of daylight. In northern climates, darkness can descend even before your package hits the front porch. In a survey commissioned by Comcast, 74 percent of respondents felt that having a visible home security camera was an effective way to prevent packages from being stolen.3
Most locksmiths are skilled in home security systems. They can assist you in selecting and installing the home security system or Wi-Fi doorbell camera that will work best for you.
When you shop online, have your delivery sent to your office if your employer allows you to do so. If not, have your online purchases sent to the home of a neighbor or relative who is home the majority of the time.
Schedule your delivery when you know you will be home. Many companies, including Amazon, allow you to select the day that your package will be delivered. Many companies also let you specify where you would prefer a delivery be placed, which is a better option that having a delivery being in full view of the street, and a thief, for a long period of time.
The U.S. Post Office allows account holders to put a hold on their mail while they are away. This is a good option if you are going on vacation but are expecting a package. The day you return you can have all your mail, including your packages, delivered by your regular mail carrier or you can pick up your mail at your local post office.
Use your credit card when making your purchase, as most major credit cards are protected from loss, including theft. If your item is stolen, contact the vendor first to see if they will refund or replace the item. If not, contact your credit card company to see what remedy they may offer. American Express Card members with Purchase Protection, for example, are reimbursed for theft or damages up to 120 days from the date of purchase.4
Track your packages. Many vendors and all the major package delivery services allow you to track your package online. If your package is being delivered by FedEx or the United States Postal Service you can go one step further s they allow you to schedule your delivery in advance so that you will be home on the day the package is delivered.5
Have your package held at the post office or UPS store so you can pick it up. If you are buying items from Amazon, you can have your item delivered to a secure Amazon locker. You can access Amazon locker locations on their website and add your nearest location as the delivery address when you make a purchase. When the package is delivered you will receive a notification with a unique code that you will input to open the locker and retrieve your package.6
Package theft is a crime of opportunity. It is no secret that packages left on porches, especially during the holidays, probably contain gifts that can easily be converted to cash by a thief. Taking a few easy steps can ensure that your gifts go to the intended recipients, not your local porch pirates.
A professional locksmith service can be of great assistance anytime of the year. If you are concerned about the security of your home or business or want to make sure your doors and locks are ready for the Holiday Season, Action Locksmith can help!
Our locksmith technicians are experienced, professional, and resourceful. From re-keying to code compliance, access control to camera systems, we specialize in both residential and commercial locksmith services and provide 24-hour Emergency Service. Questions? Contact us today!