Most people think of Christmas as the season of giving, but for the criminal-minded among us, it is much more like the season of taking. With the millions and millions of packages being delivered to homes from online shopping sprees, it's like being in a candy store for thieves. When you have packages delivered to your doorstep, but you aren't able to retrieve them until after work, it's like an open invitation to a crook to come fleece you of your packages. So what can you use for package theft prevention so these seasonal Grinches don't steal your Christmas? There are actually a number of effective ways, as you'll discover by reading on.
If you've never used one of these before, they are just what they sound like - lockers which are situated in a high-profile public place such as Whole Foods or a department store. When you use this service, the package will be delivered to your local Amazon locker, and you will be issued the combination which opens the locker where your package was delivered. This is of course, not as convenient as having it delivered to your doorstep, but it's definitely a good deal safer. The downside of using an Amazon Locker is that it more or less defeats the purpose of having something shipped directly to your home, since it requires you to actually exert yourself to go pick it up.
This is a free method of package theft prevention. If you don't have any of these (and they're getting rarer all the time!), skip this paragraph and go on to the next one. However, if you do have a friendly neighbor whom you can trust, and who is home most of the time, you might want to enlist their aid in retrieving any packages delivered to your home, or you could simply have the package delivered to their house. This will of course entail some form of reciprocity, e.g. a six-pack of their favorite brew, or a tray of holiday cookies. A service which is akin to having a trusty neighbor is The Doorman Service, which allows you to have packages dropped off at a secure Doorman location, from which it can be delivered directly to your home or picked up, at your convenience.
The mere presence of security cameras can be a major deterrent to would-be package thieves, so if you do install a camera by your front door, make it very obvious. Also, make sure that it's a high-resolution camera, because if someone is caught in the act and the images are too blurry to establish identity, you will not only have lost the package, but you will have paid for a security camera that is more or less useless. One interesting variation on the security camera possibility is the Ring Video Doorbell, which is equipped with a High Resolution camera that allows you to see and speak with anyone on your porch.
Although it doesn't really provide video feedback, PackageGuard is included in this category because it does send an alarm to your smartphone when a package is delivered or removed, and it's one of the least expensive options for parcel security available. One possible drawback to the security camera method is that any really determined burglar would probably be capable of disabling the system or destroying it.
This might be one of the safest options you can arrange for, especially since someone will always be at the workplace to receive a package, and it won't be left outside as a temptation to Mr. Grinch. At the time when you're expecting a delivery, you can then simply check with the mailroom every day, and on one of those days, you'll get the happy news that your package has arrived safe and sound. If your place of business frowns on this kind of approach, cross them off your Christmas Card List and choose another alternative.
There are a number of options which fall into the general category of Lockbox solutions, including BoxLock, ParcelGuard, Landport, and iBin, which provide locked boxes where parcels can be left off at your home. ParcelGuard even comes equipped with a camera, so you can see who is dropping off packages at your house. Probably the biggest downside to using some kind of Lockbox solution is the cost, since many of these products cost several hundred dollars, and some even approach $1,000.
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