With the holiday shopping season in full swing and Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales estimated to exceed $6 billion total, the coming weeks will see thousands of packages delivered to doorsteps and, in some cases, the awaiting arms of thieves.
According to NBC News, an estimated 23 million Americans have had packages stolen from their homes, and the holiday season represents prime time for this particular brand of theft. There are a number of countermeasures an online shopper can take, however. In this piece we’ll present the five best potential solutions.
1. Use the Tools Your Delivery Company Offers
When receiving packages, one of the best ways to ensure a safe delivery is to take every opportunity afforded to you by the delivery service you’re using.
If the delivery company offers package tracking, be sure to chart your package’s progress up until the moment it reaches your door safely. The company may even offer text or email notifications that alert you when a package arrives, which can help keep you in the loop and take any guesswork out of knowing if your package was taken. If you’re ordering an especially valuable item, opting for insurance through the delivery company can help cover you in the event of theft.
If you can specify delivery instructions to inform a delivery person to place your package somewhere out of sight, that can also help stop theft. Failing everything else, you can take away some convenience for yourself and simply request that the package be held at the delivery company’s facility. It will require an extra trip for you, but remove any doubt about your delivery.
2. Rely on the Kindness of Neighbors
In addition to working with the delivery company, having a good rapport with your neighbors can help ensure that your online orders arrive as planned.
If you have neighbors who are home during the day and are willing to help out in receiving packages, enlist them to assist you. Or, even if you don’t have a go-to neighbor willing to receive your packages, have a network of neighbors who are open to grabbing a delivery if they see it. The less time your package spends out in the open, the safer it will be. By having neighbors willing to grab deliveries, you reduce the risk of theft. It’s better to have your package sitting in a neighbor’s living room than out on your porch.
3. Cameras Capture Evidence and Provide a Visual Deterrent
Video surveillance and home security systems can be instrumental in catching thieves in the act and bringing them to justice. Choosing a hidden camera or standard security camera aimed at your delivery location will offer crucial evidence should they catch a theft. You can even opt for a network camera capable of streaming a live video feed to your phone so you can check in on your property from anywhere. By coordinating your monitoring with package tracking you can have constant eyes on your deliveries.
Likewise, even if you don’t invest in a full monitoring system, just the visual presence of a camera or security system can be enough to deter would-be thieves. Low-cost dummy cameras give the impression of surveillance, and security yard or window signs will fool criminals into thinking they’re being monitored even if they’re not.
4. Be Observant, Be Vigilant
This may seem obvious, but simply being an observant, concerned citizen can help you and your community. If you notice suspicious cars following delivery trucks, inform your local authorities as soon as possible. By getting police involved early and providing them with as much information as possible, you can not only save yourself from having packages stolen, but you could also help out everyone else in your neighborhood.
5. Turn to GPS
For businesses or those who have been targeted multiple times by package thieves, GPS tracking can help bring repeat offenders to justice.
Low-cost, battery-operated GPS trackers can be placed in bait boxes and left to be stolen. Once stolen, you (hopefully in conjunction with law enforcement) can track the location of your package in real time, which will ideally lead to an arrest. It may seem a bit extreme, but for those who feel they have run out of options, GPS can represent an effective, unconventional solution.
With a little bit of luck, some vigilance, and taking advantage of the tools at your disposal, hopefully all of your deliveries will make their way into your homes this holiday season.