As government-imposed stay-at-home orders and lockdowns have contributed to a boom in online sales, small businesses are thriving now more than ever. In fact, a study by the ACI Worldwide Research shows that deliveries of products ordered through the internet rose 74% since 2020. But with delivery theft on the rise, this has also proved to be a bonanza for porch thieves who grab packages left on the doorstep when the buyer isn’t at home or unable to retrieve them right away.
If you are a small business, you’re probably concerned about porch pirates. You want to be sure that your packages are actually received by your customers. This is true also if you are working from home and would like to foil porch piracy of your own purchases. By making wise delivery choices and paying attention to doorstep security, however, you can take the worry out of parcel delivery. Here are 5 ways to protect your packages from porch pirates.
Build A Strong Neighborhood Watch
The best way to prevent package theft is to have it shipped to a location that is always occupied. If you can’t be home throughout the day, ask a trusted person who will be. Discuss your schedules and have parcels delivered to the address. Once you’ve received a delivery notification from the sender, give the receiver a heads-up so they can retrieve it right away.
Package Tracking And Delivery Signatures
All major delivery companies, as well as the US Postal Service, offer the convenience of tracking your package. This allows the customer to either be home when the package is delivered or have a neighbor hold it for them. Requiring a signature may be also worthwhile if you are shipping a particularly expensive package. In this case, the client must be home at the time of delivery or have a neighbor sign for the item. Small business owners in current times may ask the question, “Is it safe to send packages?” but rest assured that delivery companies are prioritizing safety, with drivers required to wear masks and contactless systems in place wherever possible. Even when a signature is required, you can be sure that delivery companies will make sure the process is safe for everyone involved.
Visual Home Security Systems
According to a study done by the University of North Carolina, 87% of would-be robbers move on when they find that a home has a security system. Not to mention, a smart doorbell with built-in security cameras like Ring. An obvious camera installed at the front entrance can be enough to discourage most potential robbers. This can be made even more effective by highlighting the system with signs in the yard. However, the problem with cameras is that they can only help you ‘see’ the thief and give them a piece of your mind as they make off with your packages.
A decent video doorbell includes a video camera, and usually two-way communication with the person on the porch. This allows you to see who is at the door and permits communication with the delivery person. A mailbox sensor, meanwhile, is a small device that attaches to your mailbox and informs the owner when the mailbox is opened. This can be integrated with the rest of the home security system so that a camera begins recording when the mailbox is opened.
Amazon and a few other startup companies now have 24-hour electronic smart locks and drop-off locations installed at grocery and convenience stores. You can have your Amazon package dropped off at a pre-arranged location for added security. Once you receive a delivery notification, you’ll be provided with a special code to unlock or scan at the locker’s screen display. Alternatively, a lockbox may be worth purchasing when orders are of high value. At the time of shipping, a code for opening the lockbox is given to the delivery person.
Another budget-friendly solution is to turn a large vase or potted plant into a storage bin to hide any smaller packages. This can provide enough camouflage to help deter any wandering eyes from looking for a quick, accessible package to grab. After all, the risk of theft will increase the more you have items exposed in front of the doorstep.
Electronic Pad On Guard
Consider a porch-friendly alternative with a quick-ring alarm. Companies like The Package Guard offer a weight-scale sized, Wi-Fi-enabled electronic pad that is designed to sit on your porch. Once the parcel has been placed on the guard pad, it will immediately send you a delivery alert and release a 100-decibel alarm if someone tries to steal the item without disarming the device via app.
Porch piracy is a growing issue because of the increasing amount of business we do over the Internet and the consequent delivery of packages to our homes. Porch piracy is also a major concern if we run a small online business from home and have materials or products delivered to our customers’ properties. The suggestions listed above can reduce the threat of porch piracy. They range from installing or expanding home security systems, to requiring a signature from the receiving person at the time of delivery.