9 Home Delivery Tips to Keep Your Packages Safe
Security experts offer their best advice amid the increase of porch pirates.
Whether you're getting an early start on your holiday gift shopping or you're refreshing your cold weather wardrobe, there are plenty of reasons to make online orders right now. But with every shipment we get, there's the threat of dreaded porch pirates. A 2022 package theft report from Security.org found that 49 million people in the U.S. had at least one package stolen by porch pirates last year—and researchers say the numbers are climbing. To avoid becoming a statistic, we talked to security experts to get insight on how you can keep your packages safe. Read on for the nine home delivery tips they recommend.
Add a package storage box to your front porch.
If you want to protect your future purchases, there is one product you should buy first: a package storage box.
Rick Musson, a 21-year law enforcement officer and home safety expert with Insurance Providers, says that "more and more companies are putting the responsibility of lost packages on recipients and not providing replacements." So, it might be well worth it to invest in extra safety.
"There are several options for locked boxes to hold packages until you can get them," Musson says. "These boxes can be accessed by delivery personnel but once your package is inside, it's more secure than if it were sitting on your steps."
Install a visible camera by your front door.
Of course, delivery drivers have to actually use your package storage box in order to make it effective—and a 2022 Consumer Reports review indicates that this is not always a guaranteed. With that in mind, consider investing in a visible security camera to place by your front door, Musson suggests.
"A camera won't guarantee your package won't be stolen, but it can show you when a package arrives so you can make arrangements," he says. "If someone steals your package, the camera will also provide video evidence that can help identify the suspect."
Invest in automatic lights and other security mechanisms.
A video camera is not the only security tool that can be helpful for safe home delivery. Jeff Ketelaars, home security expert and co-founder of Security Guards Only, says you should also consider installing other useful protective measures around your home.
"Porch pirates will commonly attack at night, so having additional security mechanisms such as gate alarms and automatic lights can help deter them," Ketelaars explains. "Additionally, when used with cameras, it can help alert the device to pick up the audio and visual feed and provide a more clear picture."
Set up unique delivery instructions.
Not everyone can afford to buy extra security devices to protect their orders, however. If you're looking for a protection measure you don't have to pay for, Ketelaars recommends setting up unique delivery instructions.
"While you want to make instructions simple for the courier's sake, this is a good feature to utilize and experiment with," Ketelaars notes. "For example, instruct delivery people to access a side or back door, or have them hide your package under furniture on the front porch."
Musson also suggests making side or back door delivery requests, as these areas are less visible to people passing by your home.
"Thieves are generally looking for an easy target, and if they can't see what they can take from the street, they may not do the work to look around in more places," he shares.
Ask your neighbors to grab packages when you're out of town.
If you know that you will be having packages delivered to your home while you're not there, Musson advises that you enlist the help of a trusted neighbor—especially because this could turn into a more serious security risk.
"If packages sit on your front steps or porch for several days, not only are they easy targets for thieves, but they're also a signal to passersby that you're not home, which could turn your home into a target for theft," he warns.
To avoid this, ask your neighbors to pick up packages for you when you're out of town.
"This will keep your front entry from looking abandoned, and keep your packages from being stolen," Musson says.
Utilize delivery notification systems.
One of the best ways to protect your packages is to know exactly when they're going to be dropped off, according to Ketelaars.
"Many courier services now offer notifications to be sent in real time to your email or phone number to provide you with updates on when your package will arrive," he points out. "You can use these to help you plan to have someone home or have a trusted neighbor come pick up the package for you."
Request signed delivery.
Musson also recommends utilizing signature requests when offered by a delivery company.
"You won't always have this option, but when it's available, the delivery person will not leave a package unless it's signed for," he explains. "After a couple of attempts for delivery, you can pick up the package at the delivery facility at your convenience."
Make larger orders instead of many smaller ones.
You can also make changes when it comes to how you order products. Ketelaars tells Best Life that it is safer for consumers to make one larger order at once instead of many different smaller ones over time.
"While the convenience of online shopping is undeniable, and it can be tempting to order necessities with next-day shipping on Amazon constantly, you want to avoid having a constant stream of packages on your doorstep," he says. "Instead, build up your cart over a couple of weeks and order one big package that can be scheduled to be delivered while you are home."
Keep your property clean.
One more change you can make yourself to keep your packages safer is cleaning any clutter around your home—especially if you have expensive products out on your property, according to Ketelaars.
"Homes look more desirable to robbers and potential porch pirates when they have lots of valuable items within street line view," he cautions. "Remember to close your garage, keep valuables off the porch and out of the car, and lock up any bicycles or outdoor equipment. Taking these steps will help ensure your property blends in and does not become an easy target."
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