Never Wonder “Dude where’s my package?”

"Dude Where's my Car" Movie scene with stars Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott looking for their car

Originally posted on Huffington Post by John Rampton on March 17th, 2016.

23 million households are victims of package theft

Every day, the average person leaves home and goes to work. For most of us, that work window overlaps with UPS and FedEx’s delivery windows, so it’s very easy for someone to swipe a package from unsuspecting front porches. Yes, 23 million of us have been affected by this. This crime is quickly becoming an epidemic for two reasons.

  1. No one is around.
    • Stealing a package is like taking candy from a baby.
    • It is so easy to get away with it!
    • Most of us are working when valuable packages are delivered, so no one’s looking out for Porch Pirates.
  2. More and more people are getting stuff delivered to their homes.
    • Online retail sales topped $334 Billion in 2015
    • Amazon Prime has 54 Million US members.
    • More and more people are ordering higher-priced items online and having them delivered to their unsecured front door

So how can we stop this?

There are a lot of different options out there to help protect our packages. Some are expensive, and others are time-consuming, but there are some simple solutions worth considering.

  1. Delivering packages to third-party locations.
    • USPS PO boxes and renting a mailbox from The UPS Store.
    • Amazon Lockers – self-service parcel delivery locations that allow anyone to pick up their delivery 24 hours a day.
    • Alternative delivery locations – On-demand economy entrants include Doorman provide anyone with a virtual doorman, who can hold your packages at their warehouse and deliver in the evening or whenever it is most convenient
  2. Technology enabled solutions.
    • Front porch cameras like the Nest, Video Doorbell and Ring are easy to set up and cost about $200 -$300.
    • Package Guard is an alarm device that sits on your front porch and sounds an alarm if someone nabs your package without entering a passcode in your smartphone.
    • Parcel drop boxes, similar to The Elephant Trunk, are another great front porch solution and are typically used for businesses or condos.
  3. Staffed Location.
    • Management or Leasing Offices – If you are lucky enough to live in an apartment or condo building with a full time leasing office, you know how beneficial they can be to accept packages.
    • UPS Access Points – The concept is quite simply, instead of just leaving a “we missed you” notice on your door, UPS will deliver your package to a local access point (dry cleaners, drug stores, and coffee shop) to pick up after normal business hours.
    • Work from Home – Although this is the most time consuming, it is one of the most certain ways to ensure your package is delivered!

Creative Ways to Stop Package Theft

Rigging traps for repeat offenders with package surprises such as soiled kitty litter and dog poop. Even law enforcement is getting creative to help stop this epidemic.

Poop emoji with smily face

Police in Rancho Cordova, California started a program to deliver decoy packages to lure porch pirates and have caught two would-be thieves.

Philip J. Fry from Futurerama meme

As more people rely on home delivery for important and valuable items, the rise of the porch pirates will continue, unless we begin to implement smart technology near our front doors to prevent the theft from happening. For those who want to leave their USPS, FedEx, UPS or Amazon delivery unprotected, we hope you are lucky enough to work from home or enjoy spending your weekends in line at the package sorting hub. For the rest of us who are chained to our desk during the all-day delivery window, the average Joe will need to leverage technology to virtually assist with the safety of their packages.

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