12 Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself from Package Theft

Nothing quite beats the eager anticipation of waiting for that special gift or self-indulgence to arrive at your front door. Unfortunately, growing numbers of deliveries are falling prey to “porch pirates” who plunder your packages before you get to them. An estimated 30 percent of all Americans have had a package stolen. Indeed, nearly one in five U.S. homeowners was a victim of package theft last year, according to a study conducted by home security provider Ring in October and November of 2017. The rise in theft is certainly being fueled by the growing number of deliveries. One in two homeowners report that they receive packages delivered to the home at least once a week, and a quarter of all homeowners receive packages several times a week. The average value of a stolen package last year was $140, according to the Ring survey, which noted that while package theft spikes during the holidays, it's a year-round scourge. So, what’s a busy online shopper to do? Read on for a list of some cutting-edge high-tech—and traditional low-tech—ideas for protecting your packages from pilferage.

  1. Install a Smart Lock

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    Install a Smart Lock

    There are numerous home door locks on the market today that can interface with your mobile phone. Industry leaders offering “smart locks” include Yale, Schlage, Kwikset, August, Friday, and Gate. These door locks connect via either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi networks and let you open and close doors by using an app on your phone. Pricier models allow you to provide access for friends, family, or delivery personnel.

    Related: Buyer’s Guide: Door Locks

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  2. Try Amazon Key

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    Try Amazon Key

    If you do a lot of shopping on Amazon, chances are you have heard about Amazon Key, an in-home package delivery service that enables delivery people to leave packages inside your front door. Amazon Key works with a variety of smart door locks, including the Kwikset Convert, Yale Assure, and SmartCode 914. Many other smart lock manufacturers are developing products compatible with Amazon Key.

    Related: 14 Things Your Mail Carrier Wishes You Knew

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  3. Install a Security System

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    Install a Security System

    A monitored security system can help persuade would-be thieves to move along. Many package thefts are opportunistic, and if it looks like your home is protected, crooks will target someone else’s unguarded home. Even if you don’t have a monitored security system, you can still deter criminals by installing a security camera—and making sure the camera is visible to would-be package snatchers.

    Related: Leaving These 10 Things at Your Front Door Could Keep You Safe

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  4. Use Smart Sensors

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    Use Smart Sensors

    Smart-home technology is becoming more and more integrated. Today, you can install smart sensors on doors, windows, garages, and other points of entry, and these sensors can integrate with other smart-home components to alert you when something is opened. Notion sensors, for instance, integrate with the Nest Learning Thermostat to alert you when a door, window, or garage door opens. As a bonus, smart sensors can also alert you to water leaks, smoke alarms, and temperature changes.

    Related: 11 Holiday Mistakes That Bring Burglars to Your Door

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  5. Set Up a Lock Box

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    Set Up a Lock Box

    Mailboxes used to be simple and small. Now, a whole new generation of larger “lock boxes” are designed to accommodate packages while blending in attractively with your home’s exterior. Many of these large boxes are being marketed with compatible “smart padlocks” that open only when the delivery person inputs a tracking number or scans a bar code. BoxLock, for example, is an internet-connected security padlock designed to protect packages delivered to residential consumers and works with Step2’s large package delivery boxes.

    Related: 7 Surprising Items Burglars Want to Steal from You

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  6. Redirect Delivery

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    Redirect Delivery

    Avoid the package theft problem entirely by redirecting deliveries to a secure location, such as an Amazon Locker or UPS Access Point. Amazon Lockers are secure, self-service kiosks located across the United States in convenience stores and supermarkets; there are more than 2,800 lockers in some 70 major metropolitan areas in the United States. UPS customers can redirect deliveries to approximately 9,000 “access points” in delis, grocery stores, florist shops, dry cleaners, and UPS stores across the country.

    Related: The Most Cunning Secret Hiding Spots We've Ever Seen

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  7. Have Packages Delivered to Work

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    Have Packages Delivered to Work

    If you work in a small office—or have a good relationship with your corporate mail room—have your personal packages delivered to you at work.

    Related: 10 Things a Burglar Doesn't Want You to Know

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  8. Ask Carrier to Hide Packages

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    Ask Carrier to Hide Packages

    Even something as simple as putting a package on a back porch or in a storage shed can deter theft. Leave a note for your carrier to hide packages in a predetermined location, following the old adage, “out of sight, out of mind.”

    Related: 11 Ways You May Be Inviting Burglars Into Your Home

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  9. Use "Ship to Store"

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    Use

    Many major retailers offer free delivery of online purchases to a nearby store location. Take advantage of the security and convenience—and save yourself some cash—by picking up your purchases at the store rather than risk having them stolen.

    Related: 12 Mistakes That Make Your Car Vulnerable to Break-Ins

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  10. Hold for Delivery

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    Hold for Delivery

    When you order something online, request that the purchase be held for delivery at the local carrier’s pickup location, which might be your local post office, a UPS store, or a FedEx shipping and receiving center.

    Related: 10 Ways to Burglar-Proof Your Home for Under $100

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  11. Ask a Neighbor

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    Ask a Neighbor

    In the old days, if you knew a package was coming and you didn’t want it left outside, you asked a friend or neighbor to pick it up and hold on to it for you. This still works great today, especially if you have neighbors who work from home. Be sure to let your carrier know that your neighbor is authorized to accept your packages.

    Related: 11 Selfish Reasons to Make Friends with Your Neighbors

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  12. Just Stay Home

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    Just Stay Home

    It may sound simple, but about half of all homeowners (48 percent) choose to stay home when they have a package coming, according to the Ring survey. Sometimes the oldest and simplest solution can also be the best way to ensure that you enjoy your special purchase—not some random robber!

    Related: 9 Things Always to Buy Online

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  13. See the House of the Week

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    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!