7 Ways to Avoid Package Theft in your Community Association
Even before COVID-19 forced us to shelter-in-place, online shopping was experiencing massive growth and now more than ever people are expecting goods delivered directly to their door. In their 2020 Remote Payments Study, Pymnts.com found that consumers report a 34.9% increase in people shopping online in 2020, versus in 2019. All this online shopping means that more orders are being delivered to your community's doorsteps, creating more opportunities for package theft. "Porch pirates", the colloquial name for these thieves who steal packages from people's doorsteps, are becoming an infuriating trend in the U.S. According to research from Security.org, close to 40 percent of people have been the victims of porch pirates.
These thieves often target a specific area with lots of houses so that they can maximize their reward. Some communities may have the benefit of a security fence and are therefore potentially less likely to be victimized by these thieves. But if your community isn't gated, what the best ways to keep your belongings safe? Here are seven ways to do just that:
Install a Video Doorbell
A video doorbell like Ring detects motion at your front door and lets you speak directly to the visitor. Most thieves will be stopped cold if they suddenly hear someone say, "I'm watching you!" You can also pay a service fee to have incidents on your porch recorded.
Ask a Neighbor
One of the benefits of being an HOA or condo owner is that you know most of the people in your community. Why not use this to your advantage when it comes to having your packages delivered? If a package might arrive while you're out of the house, ask a neighbor to keep a lookout and grab your package once they see it. This gives porch pirates little time to steal your goods.
Send to Your Workplace
So long as your boss is okay with it, sending your packages to your workplace is an easy way to keep porch pirates at bay. At most businesses, someone has to receive packages, so your delivery will be safe in a colleague's hands.
Get a Lockbox
Several companies have developed parcel lockboxes for front porches. Some work manually, while others employ mobile apps that connect with the shipping barcode. Lockboxes will deter any thief who is eyeing your porch.
Require a Signature
Perhaps one of the surest ways to avoid package theft is to require a signature for delivery. This can be a bit of a pain, but if you've had valuable shipments stolen before, you'll probably be willing to go the extra mile.
Buy a Package Guard
A Package Guard is a nifty device with a weight-sensitive stand on which delivery drivers place your packages. Should a thief try to swipe your box, the Package Guard sounds a very loud alarm. Chances are the porch pirate will drop your package and run.
Set up Tracking Notifications
Knowing exactly when your delivery has arrived can help you get it into your home, quickly. FedEx and UPS give you tracking numbers that allow you to check the status of your packages online. Amazon sends you text alerts when your package is out for delivery and when it has arrived. Tracking is included with every shipped USPS package, except commercial Standard Mail packages (but you can add tracking for a fee).
To keep your community safe, share these tips in your next newsletter or on your board portal. Arming your community members with these ideas will help them thwart porch pirates, ensuring everyone receives their packages and lessening the chance of crime in your community.