An unfortunate side effect of our modern online lifestyle: parcel theft. A box or stack of boxes lying on your front steps is an easy target for "pirates in front of the porch," some of which follow delivery vans and collect packages shortly after they leave.
This has become a serious problem. According to a recent survey by Comcast Xfinity Home, 30 percent of Americans have stolen a package from outside their home.
What can you do? How can you thwart these thieves? Let's take a look at some of your options.
Sign up for Amazon Key
Amazon solves this problem directly withwhich combines a smart lock and a security camera that allow delivery services to place parcels right at your doorstep.
Yes, in your door. That means you have to be ready to allow a complete stranger to enter your house. The camera monitors the whole thing, but it's still a disturbing idea. (That is,.)
The key kits start at around $ 250, a price that includes professional installation. It's currently available in about three dozen US cities, with more scheduled for 201
There is another version of this one that has just been rolled out:. Instead of delivering to your front door, the carrier will deliver in your suitcase!
See if there is an Amazon locker near you
How about a closet for your porch that is not limited to Amazon supplies? This is the idea behind BoxLock, a smart padlock that scans packages so that delivery drivers can unlock a storage box on their porch.
You provide the box; BoxLock handles the scanning and connectivity. The latter is done via Wi-Fi, with the lock checking the barcode to make sure it's a box you expect and one marked "for delivery". If yes, presto: the lock opens
Sounds like a pretty solid solution, but time will tell: The BoxLock just started shipping a few weeks ago. The price: a pretty hefty $ 129.
Sign up for a neighbor
Is there a neighbor you trust? Who is at home most days? Consider whether you can have packages delivered to your home. The hassle for you: picking up these packages at a time that benefits both you and your neighbor. The trouble for them: dealing with delivery drivers, keeping things in front of the door, the pick-up logistics mentioned above and so on. Needless to say, this deserves some kind of thank you, be it a plate of biscuits, a Starbucks gift card, shoveled driveway in winter – you have the idea.
Delivering parcels to the office
This is probably one of the safest options, because the delivery is left to an "inside job" (ie not to parcels) outside). However, there are some considerations, not least the need to juggle one or more boxes from your office to your car (or, if you are a commuter, to your train or bus).
If you work in a large building, you may be exposed to the whims of the post office – boxes can also be easily delayed or misplaced between there and your desk.
Finally, it is not uncommon that delivery attempts take place in the evening after the building is closed. This could cause packets to be returned because nobody is receiving them.
No thief will risk being caught by the camera, right? In fact, cameras are not particularly deterrent when criminals do not know they're there, which is quite possible with unobtrusive items such as theor . And that's the point: to prevent theft.
So while it's becoming more and more affordable to add a video camera to your veranda (the Blink costs only $ 99), you might as well (or better) work with a fake one that really opens up.
For example, this twin pack sells dummy surveillance cameras for only $ 10. They look pretty convincing, though professional thieves can spot fakes. (Pro Tip: Do not bother with the battery-powered red LED in every camera, because real ones do not really flash.) You also get a sticker that warns, "Take 24-hour security cameras."
I & # 39; I'm not saying that you should not use the real thing, because obviously a fake will not give you any material that you can use to convict a thief. I say that a video doorbell can not deter an amateur pirate because she does not announce, "I'm a video camera!"
Sign up for delivery notices
Knowledge is power – in this case the knowledge that a package has been delivered. That way, you know exactly when and where it was filed (front door, porch, wherever).
If possible, sign up for the delivery notification. For example, Amazon can notify you by text message when a package is shipped, shipped, and delivered, as well as when there is a problem on the way. To subscribe to this option, access your Amazon account settings, search for email notifications, messages, and ads click Shipping Updates by Text and then click Login
The USPS now offers a service called "Informed Delivery," which includes an option to track the packaging. When a package with a USPS tracking number is sent to your address, you can receive email or text notifications with the delivery status.
You can also sign up for UPS My Choice and receive all kinds of shipping notifications] Originally posted on January 10, 2018.
Update, July 26 : Added information about delivery notifications
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