Security camera picture of a thief walking away from a door with stolen packages.

With the holidays around the corner and many stores staying closed due to Covid-19, many people are turning to online shopping instead of going to stores to find the perfect gifts for friends and loved ones.

While taking an online shopping approach can help reduce contact with others and is considered by many to be a smart choice (and can be a good idea if you’re in a higher-risk category or planning to visit friends or family for the holidays), it doesn’t come without some risks—especially during the holidays.

There’s always a chance that delivered packages can be stolen from off your property, especially if no one is home to collect the package quickly after it’s been dropped off. This is even more true during this period of COVID. Generally, package thefts spike during the holidays, but since lockdowns have occurred nationwide to varying degrees, these previous spikes in thefts have become the new normal, with almost one in five Americans having reported a package theft at their home.

An interesting fact to consider is that all types of homes, from apartments and town homes, to mobile homes, to homes in spread out neighborhoods are at similarly high risks for package thieves.

Does this mean that this holiday season will see an even bigger surge in thefts this year? It’s too early to tell for certain, but it is very likely. As more and more packages are delivered, it’s more likely some will be stolen.

Fortunately, you can take steps to help reduce the chances of becoming a victim of package theft. We’ll look at some steps you can take, and what you can do if you become a victim of this common crime.

 

Deterring Package Theft

Plan to be home during your delivery window, if possible. Take note of your estimated delivery time & date and plan accordingly so that either you or someone else in your household can quickly bring the package in once it’s been delivered.

Ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye out for your deliveries. If the suggestion above isn’t feasible, it may be worth asking a friendly neighbor if they wouldn’t mind picking up your package if they happen to see it, so that you can collect it later.

Request that the delivery driver hides the package. Many online stores allow  you to leave a note that delivery drivers can see. If you’re presented with the option to leave a note, you should consider asking the delivery driver to leave the package away from plain view—behind shrubs or a plant pot, for example—if possible.

Have your package delivered elsewhere. If you know you won’t be home and none of the above options will work for you, consider having your package dropped off somewhere else. You can have your package delivered to your workplace, a family or friend’s house, a parcel locker, or a local store (such as UPS or FedEx locations, for example). This may add some

Add insurance and/or request a signature on delivery. For more valuable items, it may be worth paying a little extra for insurance. While the company you ordered from may replace your product in the event it’s stolen, it’s not guaranteed. The same goes for the delivery company. Instead of risking it and hoping for the best, a few extra dollars for insurance can help save against loss and headache. Additionally, or alternatively, consider requiring a signature so that the package is never left unattended.

 

Using a Security System to Protect Your Packages

Security systems with obvious equipment can be an instant deterrent to would-be package thieves.

An effective CCTV video monitoring system with cameras place in obvious areas around the perimeter of your home can make bad actors think twice before acting.

Remote alerts can let you know when motion has been detected on your porch, and you can monitor to see that your package has been delivered—and also monitor any suspicious movement after the package has arrived. Some systems allow you to play an alert or broadcast your voice, adding another way to deter those about to commit a crime.

Additionally, you can utilize access control and smart locks to allow neighbors or trusted individuals to open your door and move your package inside once it has arrived, and you can lock the door behind them once they’ve left.

 

What to do if You Believe Your Package Was Stolen

Confirm your delivery. Before panicking, check any tracking information associated with your package to confirm it was, in fact, delivered. Sometimes a delivery person may hide your package out of sight or leave it in your mailbox, and will usually make a note of this.

Ask your neighbors. If you’ve confirmed that your package has been delivered but you can’t locate it, be sure to reach out to your neighbors to see if they might have accidentally received it—with more and more packages needing to be delivered, delivery drivers’ schedules have become more hectic. This added pressure can cause drivers to leave packages at the wrong domicile—especially in apartments or townhomes where buildings look similar. You may also check to see if anyone has mentioned receiving your package on a local social network, such as Nextdoor.

Contact the company you purchased from. Many bigger companies may be willing to send you a replacement product if you report your purchase as missing. However, these replacements are on a case-by-case basis—and many smaller businesses may not be able to replace your stolen item.

Contact the shipping company. If the company you purchased from is unable to replace your stolen item, there’s still a chance that the shipping company will work with you if you file a claim with them. If you didn’t purchase insurance, they may not be willing to do much as they relinquish liability once the package has been delivered (after it’s been verified that the delivery was made to the correct address).

File a police report. Whether you’re able to receive a replacement for a stolen package or not, be sure to report the theft to your local law enforcement. While they may not be able to help you recover your specific package, they can use your data to see where similar thefts are occurring and better distribute their presence and help reduce and deter future theft in and around your neighborhood.

Consider upgrading your security system. As discussed in the previous section, a security system can help deter and reduce your chances of experiencing package theft. Modern security technology can help deter would-be thieves before they can get near your deliveries. This won’t bring back any packages you’ve lost to thieves, but it will bring you peace of mind and added security going forward.

 

If you’re looking for a home security system to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your property (including your package deliveries!) in the east Texas area, contact 3D Security, Inc. to discuss your situation, needs, and goals, and we’ll work with you to craft and implement the perfect security solution for you.