Online ordering should make life less stressful. After all, it’s easy, it’s fast, and you barely have to think about it. Who wouldn’t want to skip a time-consuming trip to the store?
But after you click that “buy” button, the worries start. There’s your package, sitting on your front doorstep, exposed to the world. Will it actually be there when you finally get home? Or will those shiny new electronics you ordered get snatched up by a thief, spurring an extensive, time-consuming goose chase to actually get the product you ordered?
With the increase in online purchasing and shopping, the number of packages being stolen has skyrocketed. In 2015, a study showed that 23 million Americans had packages stolen from their doorstep. By 2017, that number had risen to 26 million, and it shows no signs of slowing down. There’s even a new name for thieves that specifically snatch up ecommerce packages: “porch pirates.”
While this spike in theft is scary and unsettling, there are a number of ways to help protect your deliveries from porch pirates in your neighborhood.
1. Install a video doorbell
Installing a smart home video doorbell is a great way to monitor activity outside of your home, especially on the front steps. Most video doorbells have a motion sensor built into them, notifying you when there is any kind of activity in the line of site of the camera. Your video doorbell may also have recording capabilities, which would allow you to capture an image of the porch pirate that you could share with local authorities.
2. Use a more secure delivery method
There are alternatives that you can use for the delivery of a package if you’re concerned about theft from your front steps. One great option is to have your packages delivered to your office or place of employment (make sure to ask your employer first). You could also choose to have the package delivered to a post office box, a UPS store, or an Amazon locker, and pick it up there.
3. Use motion-activated lights
Motion-activated lights can be incredibly effective at scaring away thieves. By installing them in the front of your home, you can suddenly illuminate anyone who approaches your door, discouraging them from taking your stuff. Couple this with a video doorbell, and you’ve got a solid set of deterrents.
4. Specify instructions for the delivery
Many retailers allow you to create specific delivery instructions when placing your order. You could ask the delivery person to drop off the package at the back door, where it’s less visible, or to ring the doorbell so you or someone else can bring it inside right away. If you have a friendly neighbor, you can also come up with a package pact—you’ll keep an eye on each other’s deliveries and take them temporarily if one of you aren’t home.
5. Make it clear that your home is protected
Having a home security system ensures that your home is safe from intruders (not to mention fire, carbon monoxide, flooding, and freezing temperatures). But something people don’t think about is that it can deter burglars from the outside of your home, too. Stickers and yard signs from a home security provider are a clear sign to a burglar that your home might be more of a risk than some other options. And the fact that you have a home security system sends the message that you take your property seriously, something even porch pirates can respect.
Worrying about package theft doesn’t have to be the price you pay for modern convenience. With these tips, you can be confident that your delivery will be waiting for you when you get home.