Every December for the last few years has seen a spate of articles on “Porch Pirates,” package thieves who filch your deliveries from Amazon and other online retailers. With ten percent of all retail sales taking place online, the phenomenon isn’t confined to the holiday season. The USPS and FBI do not compile statistics on mail and package theft, but independent studies suggest that more than 30% of shoppers have experience with the problem, with an average replacement cost of $109. So how can you protect yourself from this growing phenomenon?
Delivery Protection for Homeowners
Many of the steps you can take to ensure your packages get to their intended destination are as simple as they are effective. And because theft is an unfortunate fact of life, these steps can also provide a layer of accountability in the event that something goes wrong.
- Get deliveries where you are: If you’re at work more often than you’re home, have your deliveries sent there as long as your employer allows it.
- Use drop-off points: For one-off deliveries, a delivery locker at a convenience store, supermarket, or shipping company can be a good way to secure your packages; those receiving deliveries more frequently might consider a PO box or one from their local UPS or FedEx store.
- Set up tracking: Most shipments are sent with tracking, but if the shipping page doesn’t mention it, request it. Follow up by setting up notifications with the shipper in question while you’re at it.
- Leave delivery instructions: We’ve all been there: you wait all day for a delivery, walk downstairs, and there’s a tag notifying you that your delivery wasn’t left because there was nobody home. Delivery instructions — insisting that the bell be rung, requiring a signature, or specifying an out-of-view place to leave packages — can help ensure a level of protection against theft.
- Install cameras at home: A visible security camera serves two purposes. On the one hand, it’s an effective deterrent against theft; on the other, a high-resolution camera can also provide you with mobile video surveillance options so you always know what’s happening at home, and can aid in the detection and prosecution of theft, especially when law enforcement can gather information from other cameras in the area.
Delivery Protection for Businesses
Even though we’ve primarily covered homeowners’ problems and precautions up to this point, it’s worth noting that businesses are far from immune from delivery theft. Whether you’re operating a standalone or mall retail store, an office in a shared space, or a distribution facility, there are steps you can — and should — also take. In addition to many of the steps listed above for homeowners, we suggest accepting deliveries only during business hours, ensuring adequate staff so that your loading dock or delivery area isn’t left unattended, and always check shipping manifests and bills of lading to ensure that shipments have been received complete. Beyond that, video surveillance from Vigilante Security can be a vital part of a larger suite of business security solutions.
One last reminder that applies equally to homeowners and businesses alike: No solution is 100% effective 100% of the time, so if a package is stolen, be sure to contact the sender, the carrier, and local law enforcement.
One of the realities of online shopping is that it’s conditioned most of us to expect things fast, easy, and cheap. That ethos spills over to other areas of our lives, which explains the growing popularity of fast, easy, cheap — and, too often, ineffective — home security measures. A good surveillance system that’s integrated within your building automation controls will outperform a cheap doorbell camera, and will protect far more than your packages. A half-baked system, on the other hand, can be more harm than help, since it can lull its owner into a false sense of security and complacency. Get it right the first time; call Vigilante Security and get a free consultation on solutions that protect your whole home and business.