First world problems. In today’s modern society, they’re increasingly common, and while they’re often used as a punchline, sometimes they hit a little too close to home. One such first world problem is the growing prevalence of package theft.
As people increasingly order products online and receive frequent package deliveries, opportunistic thieves are grabbing packages right off porches. It’s known as package theft, or porch piracy, and it’s a common problem.
It’s not a surprise. Many crimes are crimes of opportunity, and with increased package deliveries and people frequently away from home, it’s the perfect combination of circumstances for thieves.
And we’re about to head into porch piracy season as package theft spikes during the holiday season with increased package deliveries containing high-priced items.
How to protect yourself from package theft
You can always avoid online shopping (but where’s the fun in that) or stay home all day eagerly awaiting your packages (nobody has time for that), or you can take proactive steps to protect your packages and ensure you get what you paid for.
Here are five tips for preventing package theft:
1. Stay in the know.
One of the most basic ways to prevent package theft is to know when your packages are expected to arrive. While you can’t always predict the exact time a package will be delivered, many delivery services provide online tracking, giving you estimated delivery times. Where possible, try to be home around the scheduled delivery time, or as near to that time as possible. If you frequently order online, it can be difficult to remember all the package deliveries you have coming, but it’s worth the extra minute it takes to click on the delivery status link in your confirmation email.
2. Alert a trusted neighbor to be on the lookout for a package.
If you can’t be home for a package delivery—particularly a valuable package—consider notifying a trusted neighbor to be on the lookout for the package. Going back to the first tip, let your neighbor know the expected delivery time, and kindly ask if they’ll pick up the package and hold it for you until you get home. It’s a favor that’s easy to return the next time they have a package delivered.
3. Don’t make your front porch an obvious target.
This is easier said than done for some homes. Since package theft is often a crime of opportunity—a would-be thief spots a stack of packages on a porch as they walk or drive by—reduce that window of opportunity. Find ways to obscure your front porch so it’s not as apparent when you have packages sitting on the porch. While you don’t want to diminish the aesthetic of your front porch, you may consider adding visual barriers that can obscure packages—things like porch railings, large planters, or front porch decorations.
4. Consider alternate delivery locations.
While nothing beats the convenience of having a package delivered to your home, it comes with risk. You can minimize your risk by having your packages delivered to other locations. If your work is OK with it, you can have packages delivered to your work and bring them home with you at the end of the day. Some stores allow shipping to their physical store locations, which can help keep your product secure. PO boxes and package delivery lockers are also common ways to secure your deliveries. These methods can be particularly helpful if you’re not home very often or tend to be away when packages arrive.
5. Use a front door camera.
One of the best ways to prevent package theft is by installing a front door camera. The Panasonic HomeHawk Smart Home Monitoring HD Camera System makes monitoring your front porch and package deliveries incredibly easy. The front door camera easily installs above your front door, giving you a 172-degree view of your porch from the top of the door to its base. And with the associated app, you can view your live camera feed anytime and from anywhere. You can also set up alerts, notifying you when someone is at the door. This can help you stay in the know when a package is delivered, but also see if someone is on your porch that shouldn’t be. And with two-way talk, you can speak through the camera to scare off a would-be thief. It’s an easy way to give yourself peace of mind.
Whatever method, or combination of methods, you choose, don’t make yourself an easy target for porch pirates. Take simple steps to protect your package purchases.