Many online shoppers are concerned about how to keep their packages safe this holiday season.  According to Fortune Magazine, an estimated 108.5 million Americans shopped online over the long holiday weekend, well above the 99.1 million physically went into stores. Last year, the numbers were about even for both avenues of shopping.

All you have to do is turn on the news to hear story after story of crimes of “porch pirates”.  Individuals who follow a simple formula: thief sees unattended package; thief makes off with package.

Many home owners are astonished that someone would feel comfortable enough to come up to their home and steal something right off the front porch.  Even worse, sometimes the home owner is inside the home. shutterstock_168848273

So how can you stay ahead of would-be package thieves? Here are a few simple suggestions to protect your packages from being stolen.

  • Ask the shipper to hold your package at their facility. Most will offer this service.
  • Have your packages delivered to a location where someone can receive them in person, such as a neighbor or relative who is usually at home, or your workplace (if your employer allows it).
  • Arrange to pick your item up at your local post office.
  • Encourage your neighbors to watch for deliveries and agree to secure each other’s packages. This includes being watchful for any person who is going onto porches for no apparent reason, or who is following delivery trucks around.
  • Utilize technology, such as security cameras that can be monitored through your cell phone or a Wi-Fi camera enabled doorbell or smart garage door opener.
  • Try a service like Amazon Locker, where the customer uses an Amazon location as their shipping address, receives a pickup code when the package is delivered, and collect their package at their convenience.
  • Track deliveries online, or look into receiving a text notification to your cell phone when a package has been delivered as many companies offer these services.

There is another option that is catching on and may become more popular if homeowners can afford to build them, custom built-in parcel drops.  The parcel drops can be custom made from many different companies and can blend into the architectural style of your home; they are securely bolted to the ground and operate as a freestanding unit.

The concept is fairly simple; the delivery person opens the door and places the package inside. When the door is shut, the package drops down into the locker’s cavity.  Later the homeowner uses a key to unlock the parcel drop and gathers the packages.

We hope that utilizing one or several of these tips will help you and your families have a safe and happy holiday season.