If you’ve ever ordered a package from an online store, there’s a chance someone snatched your goodies. After all, 29% of Americans say they’ve been victims of package theft, according to a new Vivint survey. Clothes, books, toys, games, health products and groceries are the most commonly stolen items.
Porch pirates go to frightening lengths to steal your boxes. One man posed as an Amazon delivery driver, cruising through neighborhoods so he could steal packages without arousing suspicion. With such dastardly tactics, it’s no wonder why 1.7 million packages are lost or stolen every day in the U.S.
Bottom line: Thieves have a diverse bag of tricks they use to steal your important stuff. Luckily, there are a few clever tools at your disposal, too. Thanks to our sponsor, SimpliSafe, here are a few ways you can protect your packages.
1. Use a doorbell camera
Once you buy a smart doorbell camera, you’ll find they add a ton of value to your life. Firstly, they make you feel more secure when you’re away from home since you can check-in at any time.
But they can also deter criminals. Nothing says “Back off!” like a shining camera that makes it clear you’re monitoring your property. There’s a good chance a porch pirate — or even would-be burglar — might walk away once they see you’re protected.
Not only that, but a doorbell can also help you keep track of who comes and goes. For example, potential burglars often cruise neighborhoods, looking to get an idea of people’s schedules so they can pinpoint the best target. With a smart doorbell camera, you can keep track of suspicious activity in your neighborhood.
Bottom line: If a bad guy knows you’re watching him, he may be too spooked to carry out his plan. But, of course, that’s not always the case, which is why we recommend taking this next step.
2. Get a lockbox for your front porch if you have room
With so many people ordering online, delivery thefts are worsening. One clever way around this is to get a lockbox, a sturdy container that keeps prying hands away.
They’re pretty easy to use: Just install the box onto your porch through screws or bolts so they can’t be carried off. Next, you’ll place a lock on the hatch — it has to be unlocked for delivery people to drop in your boxes.
After they place their packages, they’ll close the lid and lock the box. (Most delivery workers will get the memo and be familiar with the sight, but if you want to be on the safe side, you can leave a note taped to the side. Something like, “Please drop the packages in here and lock it when you’re done!” Or you can buy and mount a handy sign asking them to use your lockbox.)
Prices vary depending on size, of course. For example, this wall-mounted locking mailbox costs you around $30, but you won’t be able to fit, say, a mini-refrigerator in it. But if you’re expecting envelopes and small packages, it’s perfect!
Here’s something that can fit that metaphorical mini-fridge … or any other important packages you might want to safely stash away before a stranger can get their grubby hands on them. This hefty lockbox can hold up to 45 gallons of storage. It’s durable and weather-resistant, meaning your boxes will be safe even if it rains or storms while you’re away.
If you have the space in front of your house, definitely consider buying a lockbox. It’s a simple solution to prevent people from getting into your packages. There are many great options on the market made out of steel, metals and other strong materials to protect your important deliveries.
3. Use Nextdoor to see if your neighbors are warning about this
Another good way to stay up-to-date is by checking in with your neighbors. One great way to do this is through Nextdoor, a social networking site that brings good, old-fashioned neighborhood chats into the digital space. You get in touch with you and the folks down the block or across the street so you can see what’s going on in your home’s vicinity.
You can search through active conversation threads on the app and find out if there have been any recent thefts in the area. It’s a good way to find out if there are sharks in the water.
After all, some neighborhoods have more intense thieves than others. For example, in Kim’s neighborhood, someone will follow a few minutes behind real Amazon delivery drivers, stealing the packages that were just dropped off. If people are talking about this in a Nextdoor forum, you’re getting a tip ahead of time so you can know to wait for your packages when they’re about to arrive.
4. Amazon Key can keep your packages safe
Luckily, Amazon has a few great security options. Chief among them is Amazon Key, which lets delivery drivers drop off packages inside your gate or garage. (Normally, you can also let them drop boxes off inside your home, but that option’s not as popular nowadays, thanks to the pandemic.)
You’ll need a smart garage door opener or a smart lock, though. Your delivery person can then access it through a wireless key. We recommend a garage door opener that’s compatible with both the myQ app and Amazon Prime membership.
If you’re interested, you can upgrade with a Key-supported Cloud Cam. These gadgets let you monitor your deliveries for extra security.
Upgrade your home security
When you invest in a strong system, you’re saving yourself hundreds in the long run. Just think about all the costs of the packages you’ve lost. Those wasted dollars can really rack up over time.
Several of us here at the Komando HQ use SimpliSafe security systems in our own homes. It even protects Kim Komando and her family. So head to SimplisafeKim.com today to get 20% off your system and get your first month free when you sign up for Interactive Monitoring.
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