I worked on a training program for police officers on how to interrogate criminals and interview survivors of a crime.
Shopping Online Is Not Safe
At certain times of the year, we participate in some of the biggest shopping days. The holiday season with Hanukkah and Christmas are primary shopping days compared to any other season. Going from store to store can wear down a person with all the crowds and hauling the packages to the car in the shopping mall's massive parking lot. Shopping online saves you time and money if you take the precautions to secure your packages when they arrive at your doorstep.
The convenience of shopping online means avoiding crowded parking lots and long lines at the stores. More and more people buy products in the comfort of their home or office with packages delivered to their homes.
Gifts for birthdays, Mother's Day, weddings, bridal and baby showers arrive by UPS, FedEx, Amazon Prime, or USPS at the doorstep. Package theft outside a homeowner's door is a problem we face with the convenience of online shopping.
USA Today reported close to one-third of Americans are hit with package theft from their doorstep. Over half of Americans know someone who had their packages stolen from their doorstep. When you make an online purchase during heavy shopping times or any time for that matter, I want to remind you to follow these suggestions to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of package theft.
What You Can Do to Prevent Package Theft
I researched these suggestions and even contacted my local City Council Member for his invaluable feedback.
1. Track the Package
Tracking a package is a straightforward process. Make sure you sign up for delivery alerts. That way, you have an estimated time for delivery and receive an alert when the parcel arrives at the door. One of my Amazon Prime delivery people takes a picture of my package after she places it on the doorstep and sends me the photo.
2. Ask a Neighbor to Keep an Eye Out
Not everyone is fortunate to be home when the delivery person arrives with their package. Having a neighbor, you trust to take the parcel and keep it until you get home is a workable solution.
3. Request That a Signature Be Required
Asking for a signature on the delivery seems inconvenient, but it protects your shipment. So, ask for it whenever possible.
4. Send Packages to Your Workplace
If your workplace allows personal items shipped to your office, request the packages to be sent to your place of business.
5. Be a Good Neighbor
If you notice a parcel at a neighbor's doorstep, take a moment and inquire if you can help them by holding it till they come home. Even still, if you work at home as I do, let your neighbors know they can send their package to your doorstep.
6. Invest in a Security Box for Parcels
There are several on the market, and they are expensive. The ideal security box secures once the delivery gets placed in the case. The box needs a solid latch that snaps shut while locking at the same time. The parcels stay secure until someone arrives and unlatches the box. The only problem is multiple deliveries from different carriers. If you want to keep the cost down, do what I did. I bought a Suncast Storage Box without a lock. The box blends in with my grey-colored porch. The delivery person places my packages in the case and closes it.
7. Buy a Security Camera
A security camera can war off potential theft because nobody wants to get caught on camera stealing your packages. Having the cameras visible, so the criminals see them gives second thoughts about taking your parcel at your front door. My argument is, how does that stop the criminal? If you capture their image on digital, how does the police catch them? Some recommend cameras are nest wire indoor cameras and Arlo Pro Wireless outdoor.
Let's assume security cameras work, and you place two cameras around the outside of your home. One camera focused on the front door, and the second camera focused on the driveway. If the cameras capture a wide shot angle shot of the street, you have a better chance of catching the perpetrator on camera.
8. Sign up for Online Accounts With USPS, UPS, and FedEx
That way, you get notifications every time a package is dropped off and tell the delivery person what location at your home to leave it. If you have multiple security cameras, you can see if the delivery people are following your directions. The USPS account also shows you what mail you should be receiving each day with scanned images. All three companies also provide apps for your smartphone to track packages and get notifications.
9. Send it to an Amazon Locker
For Amazon deliveries, Amazon lockers are convenient. Check to see when you have packages delivered to an Amazon locker that you might get $5 off a $10 purchase when you pick up your delivery.
10. Report Stolen Packages to the Police
Anytime you are a victim of any sort of theft, including a package, always report it to the police. If not said, it's as if it never happened. All reports help show stats of the areas with crimes happening and determine where resources get allocated.
Security Camera Technology
With the latest technology, you can install a mobile app to the monitor at your home on the days you expect delivery. The app alerts you if anyone comes near your front door—be it your package or someone stealing your package.
The security cameras come in different kinds of styles and sensors. Bullet cameras are easy to see, so they ward off criminals. Dome cameras are discrete but not as visible. Weather-resistant equipment is an intelligent choice along with night vision. Motion detection works, but infrared technology works better. It all depends on your budget, but the higher the equipment quality, the more likely you will catch or ward off the thieves.
Your Opinion Matters
UPS Didn't Leave Package at My Doorstep
United Parcel Service (UPS) tried to deliver a package, but I wasn't home. The driver didn't want to leave it unattended. Instead, he took it to the local UPS store for me to pick up the next day. Now, I didn't request UPS not to leave it. The driver took the initiative and thought best not to leave the package at the doorstep. I know the shipment was huge, so it made sense. Huge enough to be seen from the street, so I am thankful. With that, it looks like UPS and possibly other carriers are taking precautions against package theft.
FedEx Left My Package
FedEx left my package at my doorstep behind my planters. The photo shows you can see the small parcel, but it blends in with the front door scene, so no one notices it. You can set up your porch so a delivery blends in with the scheme.
What To Do If Your Package is Stolen
If packages get stolen from your doorstep, first contact your city police, and then check with your neighbors and ask if anyone saw any suspicious behavior.
Once my UPS delivery man tried to help protect some packages delivered to my house, he shoved them under my backyard gate. The only problem was my dog ate them up. Others have placed them behind planters and such, but lately, some Amazon drivers throw them on the doorstep without a care in the world.
Don't Do Anything Illegal
Unfortunately, criminals exist in society. They continue to commit crimes until they change through rehabilitation. The first step toward recovery is getting their self-respect back. An excellent organization called The Way to Happiness Foundation can help a criminal get their self-respect back.
The Way to Happiness Foundation promotes a small booklet with 21 precepts. The 21 precepts illustrate how to live a happy life by making the right choices. The booklets come in packages of twelve. The idea is to keep one for yourself and give away the eleven other booklets to people in your life. You give one to someone you care about or needs help in making the right choices.
Criminon is an organization that uses The Way to Happiness booklets to teach life skills to inmates in correctional institutions, so they learn and get their self-respect back. Many staff and clients of the correctional institutions studied The Way to Happiness booklets as well.
One of the precepts in the booklet is "Don't Do Anything Illegal." Just think, if people lived by that principle. The world would be a better place, and we wouldn't have to worry about our packages missing from the doorstep.
I pass these booklets out to the general public in hopes it helps people live a better and happier life.
© 2018 Kenna McHugh
Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on December 04, 2018:
TD, Thank you for your comment. I thought about adding a tip about a security camera, and I might do that as an update. But, my brother had one installed at his home, and they still had their packages stolen. Though, they did get the perpetrator on camera. It was a nice piece of footage. They still lost their packages.
TD on December 03, 2018:
Nice article, it has helpful information. I am curious as to why you didn't add a security camera. They should ward off theft.
Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on November 28, 2018:
Liz, It sounds like you have a nice setup. I work at home, so the neighbors can leave their packages with me as well.
Liz Westwood from UK on November 28, 2018:
Great tips here. We are fortunate that most delivery drivers need a signature, so rather than leave a package outside the door, they drop it next door.
Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on November 28, 2018:
Alexander, I can't agree more. Neighbors helping neighbors is the key to a safe and secure neighborhood.
Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on November 27, 2018:
Communicating with one's neighbors can be important.