My local police department recently posted some holiday crime prevention tips to its website, which highlight, among other things, how to avoid having your packages stolen from your doorstep.
As deliveries soar during the holiday season, packages left on doorsteps are easy targets for criminals. "The New York Times" reported on Monday that up to 90,000 packages are stolen or lost daily in New York City.
You might think having a gadget like Amazon’s Ring doorbell is enough to scare off burglars, at least if you have a home where you can install one. But, as I’ve found in my own town, people still will run up to doorsteps and steal packages anyway. And unless you share that video with police departments — itself a subject of controversy — it’s not enough to actually prevent further theft.
According to my police department’s website, here’s what you should do:
- Have your package delivered to your work.
- Have your package delivered to the home of a relative or friend that you know will be home.
- Have your package held at your local post office for pickup.
- Take advantage of “Ship to Store” option that many stores offer. Amazon offers a “locker” feature that allows you to pick up your package from a secure location.
- Request that your package has signature confirmation upon delivery.
- Ask your carrier to place package in an area out of plain view.
There are other options not mentioned by the police that are worth considering. Amazon Key, for example, now offers in-garage or car trunk delivery, which might be more convenient for people who don’t want to sign up for Amazon’s in-home Key delivery service. (Then again, you have to be comfortable with a delivery person entering your garage or home to drop off a package.)
Finally, another company called BoxLock, offers a variety of smart padlocks that work with compatible boxes that delivery people can put packages in. BoxLock has a mobile app on iOS and Android that can open the lock box for you and also lets you track package deliveries from UPS, FedEx, USPS and Amazon Prime. Delivery drivers can use the lock’s built-in scanner to scan a package and unlock the box if it’s an expected delivery that’s addressed to you. If it isn’t, the box won’t open.