You've probably heard of the phenomenon of "porch pirates" in recent years. Perhaps you've even been an unlucky victim of package theft yourself. This can be especially frustrating during the holiday season. If you haven't already taken precautionary measures to safeguard your deliveries for the holidays, we've compiled some tips for how to keep your holiday deliveries safe and your packages from getting into the wrong hands. While there is a bit of overlap, we've broken our suggestions down into three main categories:
How to keep your holiday deliveries safe: Technology solutions
One of the quickest and easiest solutions to the problem of package theft is to install some sort of security device to monitor your front porch. A video doorbell from Ring or Nest, or a dedicated porch security camera from Blink are ideal because they allow you to monitor your home on a whim, and they will send you notifications when they pick up motion.
Some of the more sophisticated ones can even monitor pre-defined areas (so they're not paying attention to what is going on down the street) and can even identify specific faces. Most of these devices also allow you to converse with the person on your porch as well, so you can identify who they are and/or scare them away.
One of our favorites is the Ring Video Doorbell 4 because it even offers color pre-roll footage before your motion alerts. Not to mention that it can also serve as an answering machine for your front door with automated quick replies
Ding dong, who's there?
Ring Video Doorbell 4
The Ring Video Doorbell 4 will help you keep your deliveries safe this holiday season. It offers color Pre-Roll footage, which means you can see an additional four seconds of the events before the motion alerts. It can even act as an answering machine for your front door!
Many delivery services like Amazon will not only send you a notification that your package has been delivered, but they will also take a photo of the package on your doorstep (opens in new tab). Granted, this is just as much about covering their own backsides as protecting your delivery, but the visual confirmation can alert you to take measures to secure your package ASAP, whether that be with you picking it up or having a trusted person secure it for you.
Another technological measure you can take is to purchase and install a package container or drop box (opens in new tab) on your porch. This isn't always the most attractive solution, but it can be an effective one for small and medium-sized envelopes and packages. Some of these are large enough to sit on your front porch and not be stolen themselves, but you still might consider mounting them to the wall or ground for good measure.
How to keep your holiday deliveries safe: Logistical solutions
One of the most secure delivery options at your disposal is a specialty service such as Amazon Key (opens in new tab) or UPS/Latch. Amazon Key was introduced in 2017 and allows Amazon delivery representatives to access your home, garage, or vehicle to securely drop off packages (with your explicit permission, of course).
The service is available in specific zip codes across the country and requires an Amazon Key compatible hardware solution (smart locks, garage door openers, specific vehicle models, etc.). Latch is a smart home hardware startup that is trying to deliver on the same security promise and has partnered with UPS to pilot a similar program to Amazon Key.
If a delivery service like Amazon Key isn't available in your area, or if you don't feel comfortable letting a delivery person into your property, perhaps you could locate a locker delivery solution such as Amazon Locker (opens in new tab) or Walmart Tower (opens in new tab). These services allow you to have your packages safely delivered to a set of stand-alone lockers located at retail outlets, housing developments, and other public areas.
Another option is to have your package delivered to a local mail/package supply outlet, or a branch of a UPS or FedEx (opens in new tab) store. These locations are fully-staffed and equipped to keep your packages safe until you can come by to pick them up. Some allow you to direct your shipments to them, while others may require you to rent an onsite mailbox.
Finally, here's a couple of other quick and easy options that should be available to just about everyone. First off, if it's okay with your boss and you have the room, why not have your holiday packages delivered to your office? You can stack them up in the corner of your cubicle until it's time to take them home and hide them in the closet.
Additionally, you might want to check with your credit card company or homeowners/renters insurance provider, as both may cover lost/stolen packages in case the unthinkable happens.
How to keep your holiday deliveries safe: People solutions
A tactic that many of my friends have found simple yet effective is to schedule deliveries for the same day each week, when they or a trusted family member or friend will be home to receive them. Amazon offers a delivery option it calls Amazon Day (opens in new tab) that lets you do just this during the checkout process. This has the added benefit of helping to reduce your carbon footprint by minimizing delivery trips and packaging!
Finally, if you can, try to make it so that your deliveries require a signature. Most shipping companies offer this as an option, so be sure to look into this before your holiday packages start shipping out. Of course, the one downside to this strategy is that it may delay your packages if no one is around to sign for them.
Now that you know how to keep your holiday deliveries safe, you'll be able to keep your packages away from prying eyes and hands. The good news is that one or more of these options are likely available to you. Hopefully, this means that all of your deliveries will arrive safely and securely as intended.
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Jeramy is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.
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