Nearly all of us are shopping online these days. But when those packages arrive at our doorstep, thieves may be waiting to pounce.
The lure of online shopping can be irresistible. Whether it’s a hard-to-find book from Amazon, a hand-crafted shirt from Etsy or that vintage copy of the Beatles’ “White Album” from eBay, there are items we can’t purchase anywhere else.
It’s tough to completely foil porch robberies, but here is a pack of practical ideas for stopping thieves in their tracks.
1. Have packages sent to work
Many of us spend prime package-delivery hours miles from our home, in an office building or other business. So when possible, have a package sent to where you are instead of where you’re not.
Not all bosses are thrilled with employees having packages delivered to work. But if your workplace is more laid-back, this could work. This is best for smallish packages, especially if you walk or take transit.
2. Consider in-home delivery
Many of the packages landing on our porch come from Amazon. The company is working to solve the package-theft problem with various tech innovations.
In-Garage Delivery involves buying a smart garage door opener, available with an optional camera, that enables you to grant a delivery driver one-time access to your garage so they can leave your Amazon packages there. If you buy the camera, you can even watch them remotely on your phone as they deliver your order.
Walmart now also offers a competing service called InHome.
For various reasons — including trust and privacy issues and escape-prone pets — this isn’t an easy sell with everyone.
3. Use an Amazon locker
Another smart option is Amazon Hub Lockers. They’re secure, self-service kiosks that accept delivery of your package and let you come pick it up day or night. Search at the website to find your closest Amazon Hub Locker.
4. Enlist a neighbor
Some of us lucked out and landed great neighbors, those who feed the fish when we’re out of town and bring chicken soup when we’re sick.
Should you luck into such neighbors, consider asking them to take in your deliveries for you. Pay them back with home-baked cookies or the occasional cat-sitting weekend when they’re out of town.
5. Install security cameras
Security cameras can’t stop theft, but they can record evidence of one. That might help the police catch the criminals after they’ve taken off with your goods.
A visible security camera also can sometimes be all it takes to deter a crook, who might decide to look for easier pickings down the block.
6. Use vacation hold if you’ll be gone
Maybe you work from home and have managed to safely handle all your package deliveries so far. That’s all well and good, until you head off on that well-deserved vacation.
Even if you haven’t ordered any packages to arrive while you’re gone, gifts or delayed orders could sneak up on you. Take the burden off your helpful neighbor and have your mail and packages held for you at the post office until you get back.
7. Consider a post office box
Speaking of picking mail up at the post office, there’s always that old standby, a post office box. Sure, they look small, but packages too large to fit are held for you behind the counter, while a pickup slip is put in the box to let you know you have a box waiting.
8. Install a video doorbell
Smart video doorbells, such as Ring, let you see who’s at your door even when you’re not at home. They utilize motion detectors, video cameras and Wi-Fi to act as a visual peephole, buzzing your phone or other device when someone’s at your door. Some also allow you to hear and speak to visitors.
Now, that won’t completely stop a thief — but it will let you know if a long-awaited package has been delivered, so you can head on home to get it. It also provides a recording of all action near your front door.
8. Make a lock box
Depending on the layout of your porch or front stoop, you might be able to build your own package protector. A device as small as a fishing-tackle box or as large as a small shed can be chained and padlocked to a post. If you’re expecting a package, leave the lock open with instructions to the delivery person to lock it once they’ve placed your package inside.
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