The holidays are almost here and that means it’s shopping season. As the trends in the past few years continue, a majority of shoppers will be heading to their smartphone or computer instead of the big box stores. Porch pirates, or thieves that steal shipments right off your doorstep, are ready and waiting. If you want to prevent package theft, there are steps you can take. Learn the best ways to keep your holiday gifts safe this year by reading our tips below.
Track Your Package
Every modern carrier has a way for you to digitally track packages. Whether you use their apps or just enter your tracking number online, they can let you know when to expect your delivery. Most of these trackers can send you an alert when the driver marks the package as delivered. If you have a flexible schedule and live near home, you can track it and run home right after it arrives.
Work with Your Neighbors
Your neighbors aren’t just a great asset to help protect your home, they’re also incredibly helpful when it comes to stopping package theft. If your neighborhood has a community watch, they can keep an eye on things and act as a deterrent. If you have neighborhood friends or family that you trust, you can also let them know that you have a package coming. Let them take the package in when they notice it, instead of worrying if it’ll be there when you get home.
Schedule Your Delivery
One of the easiest ways to prevent package theft is to never let a package sit on your porch unattended. If you know you’ll be home on the weekend or later in the day, try to schedule your delivery to arrive at those times. Not every service lets you schedule deliveries, and some of them are limited to days, not specific times. However, any step you take will drastically reduce your chances for theft.
Have Your Package Delivered to Your Office
You don’t always need to have your package delivered to your home. If you work in a small office or a company that allows personal deliveries, a great way to prevent package theft is to ship them right where you work. When you ship a package to your office, you won’t have to worry about porch thieves or weather damage. Check with your boss to see if it’s okay. If it is, most online stores make it easy to switch your delivery address. In many cases, you can even change the shipping address after you order it, as long as it’s not on the truck to be delivered!
Install Security Cameras
A professionally installed video security system has several benefits to your security – many of which can help protect your deliveries:
They act as a deterrent – When people know they’re being recorded, they’re far less likely to commit crimes. A home with visible security cameras instantly becomes less attractive to potential thieves. They know they’ll be recorded, and it greatly increases their risk.
Cameras capture valuable evidence – If you have security cameras and are the victim of theft, you’ll have great evidence to turn over to the police. In normal circumstances, the police will find it difficult to find a thief since porch theft is very simple and quick. However, camera evidence can make it very easy to identify people you or the police are familiar with.
Recorded theft helps your claim for stolen packages – Carriers or merchants receive complaints about lost or stolen packages every day. It’s part of their job to verify claims and toss out potentially fraudulent complaints. If you have video evidence proving your case, you’ll find it much easier to receive the refund or replacement you need.
Modern security camera systems can be tied into your home security or home automation systems, which gives you even more power to keep an eye over your family and property.
Request a Specific Location to Leave Your Package
Some delivery services, like the USPS, allow you to specify where they should leave a package if you’re not home. In many cases, you may benefit from having your package left in your backyard or another hidden location. Package theft can sometimes be a simple crime of opportunity; taking the package out of plain sight will reduce your chances of someone walking up and taking it.
Install a Motion-Activated Door Camera
One popular way to keep an eye on your home and door is with a doorbell camera. Like a surveillance system, they give you a way to keep an eye on one of the most important parts of your home: your front door. These cameras activate the moment they sense motion, to keep track of any visitors to your home. More robust models, like the Skybell™ high-definition doorbell camera, can even send you alerts when someone arrives. You can choose to capture their picture, communicate with or even unlock the door if your home has an automation system installed.
As package theft becomes more pervasive, these doorbell cameras will become more common as a means to track and prevent thieves who want to walk off with your shipments. Additionally, as 34% of burglars enter through your front door, the camera protects the single-most entranceway into your home!
When in Doubt, Contact Your Carrier
If you know you have an expensive package coming, work with your carrier to plan for your best option. Whether you use USPS or a private carrier, they want to make sure you receive your package too. All of them have different policies, options and tools to help ensure your package ends up where it’s supposed to. With all of these avenues to choose from, you should be able to find a solution to fit your schedule.
What Should You Do If Your Package Was Stolen?
There are a few steps you can take if you believe your package was stolen from your porch. While it’s unlikely a stolen package will be returned, you’re not completely out of luck.
#1. Examine Any Video Footage You Have
If you have security cameras, you will have footage of where the package should be. This lets you check to make sure the carrier actually delivered the item. In some cases, the carrier can mark an item delivered even when they haven’t completed the task. If you don’t see a delivery show up on your step, chances are there was a mistake with the carrier. Reach out to them and let them know the mistake. If they contest your claim, the security footage will help you prove the package was never delivered.
In cases where the carrier did leave the package, you’ll be able to collect evidence of the theft. This leads to steps two and three.
#2. File an Official Police Report
Filing a police report is often easier and faster than you might expect. For single incidents of theft, it’s likely the police will tell you there is little they can do to help. However, if there is a repeat porch thief in your neighborhood, these reports will be helpful for them to investigate. If you have security footage, you can provide it to the police which can greatly aid their investigation too.
#3. Contact the Carrier & Merchant
Depending on the circumstances and the value of the delivery, you have a few options to recoup your costs. Many merchants like Amazon have very flexible refund policies. Let them know your package was lost or stolen, and they will often be able to refund you the entire cost or ship a new unit free of charge.
Your carrier may also have policies and internal investigations they perform for lost or stolen package claims. Delivery insurance will also need to be handled through the carrier if you paid for it. For expensive purchases, it’s worth the extra few dollars to avoid damage or theft!
A Secure Home Helps Prevent Package Theft – Contact Us Today!
Don’t let a stolen package ruin your holiday season. If you live in Ohio or northern Michigan, our experts can design a system for your security needs and backed by award-winning, 24-hour local monitoring. Contact us today!
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