Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in December 2020 and has been revised to reflect industry updates.
With retail e-commerce sales set to increase to $5.4 trillion in 2022, online shopping is emerging as the transaction of choice among consumers. Approximately 25 percent of all 2020 holiday purchases were completed online.
Despite these trends, additional online purchases have unfortunately also led to increased losses. According to online comparison platform Finder, approximately 14 percent of Americans surveyed have experienced front-porch package thefts in the last year. The same data reported losses of around $5.4 billion.
Known as so-called porch pirates, such perpetrators keep watch in residential neighborhoods, hoping to steal delivered packages from front porches.
To combat this unfortunate and unsavory crime, consider security measures such as front door and doorbell cameras boasting smart technologies, keeping delivery areas clear, prominently displaying stickers and yard signs, alternate delivery methods, and more.
Below we’ll outline 10 tips on how to protect your home and property from these delivery bandits this holiday season.
1. Implement Front Door & Doorbell Security Cameras
These are any homeowner’s best defenses from break-ins, intrusions, and front-porch package thefts. When installed and placed appropriately, front door and doorbell cameras can help law enforcement identify unsuspecting thieves.
It’s usually assumed camera placement should be directly above your home’s front door. However, any reputable services provider, such as General Security, will advise camera installation between eight and 10 feet from the ground. This deters potential device tampering and vandalism.
Avoid placing devices toward the glare of direct sunlight, which could result in concealed or distorted footage.
When choosing a camera, General Security offers many feature-rich and functional models.
- Mini Bullet
- Wireless/Internet Protocol (IP)
2. Consider Smart Technologies With Real-Time Alerts
All aforementioned security cameras include smart technologies sending real-time alerts to any mobile device utilizing the Alarm.com app.
Consider adding the following:
This additional protective layer differentiates between humans, animals and vehicles, while indicating what should be recorded or ignored. Implemented through your camera’s accompanying video management software, video analytics prevents false notifications due to weather conditions and loud noises.
It also measures the duration of front-porch activity movement for easy, real-time detection.
Even when cameras aren’t running, this technology will record scenes only when movement is detected. This removes unusable footage, for increased battery life, storage, and energy efficiency.
Remotely monitor your property from any mobile device. This alert system automatically notifies the user of any movement or motion through the Alarm.com app.
It’s best to work with a services provider offering Central Station Monitoring, for added peace of mind. This 24/7 service directly connects you to local law enforcement in case of any emergency.
Front door and doorbell cameras equipped with two-way audio enable homeowners to speak and listen directly. Built-in microphones, speakers and Wi-Fi provides real-time communication that can thwart unsuspecting intruders and porch pirates.
Smart Locks & Garage Door Openers
Whether you’re out for the day, at work, or on vacation, smart locks can be automatically programmed so delivery personnel can safely leave packages in your front entrance, vestibule, or garage. Simply provide a one-time personalized code, or using the mobile app, remotely unlock/lock front doors and garages from your smart device for safe delivery and storage.
Approximately 14 percent of Americans surveyed have experienced front-porch package thefts in the last year. The same data reported losses of around $5.4 billion.
3. Prominently Display Stickers & Yard Signs
Most professional security companies, such as General Security, will provide stickers and yard signs with the following examples: Premises Protected by General Security, or Property Is Under 24-Hour Video Surveillance.
Even if cameras aren’t visible, these warnings will help deter intruders.
4. Keep Porch Areas Clear & Visible
Avoid placing decorations, planters, furniture, tools, and other paraphernalia on and around front-porch areas. These obstructions and other barriers can present a challenge when identifying unauthorized individuals on recorded images and video.
5. Add Virtual Tripwires via Video Analytics
Installing cameras with accompanying smart technologies such as video analytics can also include virtual tripwires. When implemented properly, these user-controlled zones set alert triggers, such as indoor or outdoor lights, and other functions, before an intruder enters the property.
6. Enlist a Neighbor for Help
Ask a trusted neighbor to watch for front-porch deliveries, or let them know you’ve received your package via the Alarm.com mobile app. They can safely hold your package for pickup once you arrive home.
7. Include Package Delivery Instructions
Depending on the merchant and shipping provider, consumers can specify delivery instructions. If you live in a private home, you can include information such as: “Leave packages by the side door,” or “Place deliveries on the back deck,” as examples. While of course your best line of defense is adding security measures, these can ensure packages aren’t in plain sight for potential theft.
8. Purchase Supplemental Insurance Coverage
If your package is worth less than $100, any theft or losses should be reimbursed by the shipping company. For big-ticket items, it’s recommended to purchase supplemental insurance covering theft, loss, and other damages.
9. Have Packages Delivered to Your Place of Business
With most deliveries occurring during business hours, consider having your packages sent to your place of business. If your employer obliges, this will remove any worry regarding lost or stolen packages. You’ll have added peace of mind, especially if your employer has security cameras and other protection measures.
10. Set Up Mobile Notifications
The Alarm.com mobile app facilitates real-time alerts notifying users of activities such as package deliveries, motion detection, and more. This provides clear images and videos should someone attempt to steal a package from your front porch. It can also capture any unsuspecting thieves or vandals on or around your property.
Taking Precautions & Staying Safe
Whether you will be home or away this holiday season, consider safeguarding your house and property from package thefts through the aforementioned security tools and smart technologies.
General Security provides residential security cameras, video analytics, motion detection, and smart technology solutions to help deter package thefts.
Request a free quote from us today!