With the holidays just around the corner, more people than ever are sending or receiving packages, which means package thieves are increasing their efforts.
According to package theft statistics, each year more than 23 million Americans have their packages stolen. Officer Greg Fliegel from Seattle Police Department shares this story on KOMO News about two prolific package thieves. If you recognize them in your neighborhood, please call 911.
Eight Steps to Avoid Package Theft
- Ask for a tracking number when you order your package.
- If you know or suspect you won’t be home at the time of the delivery, check with a neighbor to see if they can watch the package for you.
- Require signature on delivery to ensure that your packages won’t be left unattended at your front door.
- Use Smart Package Lockers or Convenience Stores. Pick up your Amazon delivery in an Amazon Locker with a unique code, which you can punch into the machine to retrieve your package from selected locations across the country. If your community doesn’t have an Amazon Locker, and you are a frequent online shopper, use The UPS Store, check the availability of lockers in nearby convenience stores, Kiosks or buy your own digital locker. Many stores offer free delivery if you pick up your package at their store.
- Have packages delivered to your workplace.
- Install a smart security camera at your front door. Having a smart video surveillance camera pointing at the front door, hallway or driveway is better than no camera at all. Approximately 34% burglar break into the house from the front door, a relatively high proportion compared with other spots. A security camera will serve as a deterrent for criminals and once the thieves are arrested, they will be charged with theft, property crime or other offenses. If a porch poacher steals USPS package, he or she is subject to serious criminal consequences including federal prison time and fines. What’s more, catching porch pirates in CCTV footage swiping package off the front door can be used to identify frequent package pinchers and help substantiate a theft for refund and replacement. The best scenario is that your home security system or alarm system are in conjunction with the front door camera to set off alarms when intrusion or stealing is detected by motion sensors. Motion detection triggers alert or alarm, sending notifications to your phone, mailbox and FTP server once a movement is detected. Alert from the delivery company combined with motion triggers from your camera will bolster your package security. More importantly, if you are unavailable to retrieve package, rerouting, rescheduling or requiring signature delivery without the presence of notices or trusted neighbor will be much easier when you can remotely view your porch via security camera.
- Reroute or reschedule delivery. f you are not sure whether or not you are home from holiday to receive your package when the delivery truck pulls up to your front door. You can track shipment information either on package tracking app or order information in advance. Both UPS and FedEx offer web apps to help reroute parcel to another address and reschedule your package delivery at your convenience for a fee.
- Require a vacation package hold if you will be out of town. Many delivery companies such as USPS and FedEx offer a free service to uphold your package at their terminals or delivery centers for a period of time.
File a Report to the Police and Postal Inspection Service About Stolen or Lost Packages
Of course, calling cops is the most common and direct way you usually try when you are in trouble. However, when your package is missing, lost or stolen from your porch or doorstep, don’t forget to file a complaint to Postal Inspection Service. Sometimes this organization is more professional than cops since tracking lost or missing package is the organization’s professional field. With the joint of police and the professional staff of Postal Inspection Service, the rate of recovering your lost, missing or stolen package increases greatly. Keep it in mind that if you don’t file a report, there will be more victims of parcel theft. Those package thieves would still remain unpunished. Your small action will increase the rate of those awful package thieves being caught.
Peace of Mind
This video from ABC News shows Washington homeowners taking matters into their own hands. While we do NOT recommend setting booby traps, we encourage you to consider adding video surveillance or Skybell to your home security.
Have questions? Give PSI a call at 206-322-3186 and schedule a free, no-obligation, in-home consultation and learn how you can make your home safe and sound.