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How To Prevent Package Theft

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If you want to know how to prevent package theft, you will have to consider the pros and cons of the various methods. There is no one size fits all solution for how to protect packages from being stolen. But if you want to stop package theft, here is what you need to know.

We will cover how to prevent package theft by using:

  1. Lockboxes
  2. Gates
  3. Trusted Access
  4. Cameras
  5. Alternate Locations

FAQs

How common is package theft?

Most packages are successfully delivered. However, some package theft stats show as many as 36% of Americans have had a package stolen. And once targeted, the frequency of theft can go up. Someone who has three packages stolen is almost just as likely to lose upwards of five.

Why do package thieves target certain victims?

Package theft is almost always a crime of convenience. Criminals target victims when they see a vulnerable package and assess that there may be a 15-second window to grab it. Even the criminals roving neighborhoods are most likely looking for visible packages.

Can you request for the delivery person to conceal your package?

Most delivery people are instructed by their company to try and place packages out of sight or in otherwise secure locations. There is not much you can do to assure these steps are taken, but the most effective method would be with signage with specific instructions for delivery people.

How can you tell if your package was stolen?

Before you assume your package was stolen, check the status of your delivery on the relevant online portal. Double-check that the item was not hidden or brought inside without your knowledge. Once it is clear everyone has lost track of the package, you can treat it as stolen.

What do you do after a package is stolen?

Once a package is assumed to be stolen, reach out to the company you purchased the item from, letting them know it was not received. Contact your local police station through their non-emergency line and report the crime. Finally, look into how to prevent package theft.

Do the police catch package thieves?

Property crime is a very low priority for most law enforcement offices. Even if criminals are caught and prosecuted, stolen property is rarely returned to rightful owners. Your best course of action is to find out how to prevent package theft and avoid the crime in the first place.

Who is responsible for a stolen package?

Many retailers have replacement policies for lost packages. The frequency of theft may result in an account suspension as the company desires to minimize the risk of consistent losses. To maintain your access to deliveries, you need to know how to prevent package theft.

1. Lockboxes

When most people think of how to prevent package theft, they imagine a secure container where their package can be placed but not removed. There are many types of lockboxes on the market, but you need one properly sized for packages and with the correct level of security.

For the best physical security, you want a lockbox that works like the post office’s package drop-off. This type of lockbox has a door for delivery and another to retrieve what is deposited. The delivery door is not keyed and can be opened by anyone, and the deposit door will be keyed.

When the delivery door is open, nothing in the deposit section is accessible. Once the delivery door closes, the item falls from the delivery slot into the deposit section. The deposit door will require a key to access the package once the delivery is complete.

The biggest issue will be signage to effectively communicate to delivery people how to use it. The delivery person will always need to be able to open your lock box without a key, so using a standard lockbox and high-security padlock will require the padlock to be left open.

If the box is expected to be locked after delivery, it is only good for one delivery in the best-case scenario. Worst case scenario is the delivery person does not lock it, so the lockbox remains unlocked all day and only provides concealment and weather protection.

Pros

  • Packages are not visible.
  • Packages are secured behind a locked door.
  • Usable for all delivery companies.

Cons

  • Not all delivery people will correctly use the lockbox.
  • Using the wrong lockbox will limit your security.
  • Physical construction and sturdiness depend on the product.

2. Gates

In certain instances, how to prevent package theft can be as simple as using a gate for your perimeter security. You will not be able to lock your gate, but as long as it and the surrounding fence are opaque enough, so the package is not visible, it still offers concealment.

Problems people have encountered when trying to stop package theft with a gate mainly have to do with the delivery people. You have the classic case where a delivery person hurls the package over the fence. Sometimes the package is simply left outside of the gate.

You are more likely to run into delivery issues if you are locking your gate or if it is not clear that the gate is unlocked. And if you use signs to communicate that the gate is unlocked, you will get no gate security and potentially make yourself more vulnerable to crime.

When it comes to how to prevent package theft with gates, you are only looking to get your package out of view. If someone can see over or through the fence/gate, this is not going to provide much security for your packages.

Pros

  • Packages are out of public view.
  • You can use your existing gate.
  • Criminals will need to open the gate to see the package.

Cons

  • Delivery people may be confused.
  • Your gate cannot be locked.
  • Signs explaining the gate is unlocked reduce security.

3. Trusted Access

How to prevent package theft can be as easy as asking your neighbor or roommate to bring in your packages. As long as you trust this person to promptly pick up your package, you can stop package theft from occurring.

Recovery of the package needs to be as close to immediate as possible. The more time the package is left unattended and unsecured, the more opportunity there is for theft. However, having someone on the lookout for a package does increase its security overall.

You can also extend your access control measures to allow delivery people to place packages inside your home. So far, the only high-profile example of this is Key by Amazon, which gives Amazon delivery personnel access to either your locked gate, garage, or front door.

Giving a company this type of access is great if you receive your packages from one delivery service. You will need to figure out how to prevent package theft another way for other deliveries. Also, this impacts your garage door security or whatever is being opened because it limits the number and types of locks you can use.

Pros

  • Packages are moved indoors.
  • Items are kept out of sight.
  • Items are kept behind a locked door.

Cons

  • Neighbors or roommates may be too busy.
  • Not all delivery companies offer services where packages are put inside a house.
  • If a delivery person needs to open a lock, you can only use certain locks.

4. Cameras

If you are looking for how to prevent package theft with security cameras, place cameras with clear signage alerting passersby to their existence. But for better home security, you will need to take immediate action when a crime is detected.

If you are not actively responding to the activity alerts on your camera, it is unlikely the surveillance will be enough to stop package theft. How to prevent package theft requires you to keep the package secure or communicate that a thief will be intercepted before they get away.

Even if you use all the best places to install a security camera, most modern criminals understand these cameras are the same as car alarms and motion sensor lights. Which is to say, no one is paying attention to them, so they are not increasing the risk of being caught.

In most cases, surveillance cameras don’t work to protect property. However, they will assist you in monitoring anyone you have asked to collect your packages and let you see where and when packages are delivered. Recording the chain of custody of a package can give you insight into how to prevent package theft better in the future.

Pros

  • Some criminals may be deterred by the presence of cameras.
  • You can respond to theft in real-time.
  • Recorded proof of what happened to your package.
  • Insight into how to prevent package theft in the future.

Cons

  • Cameras are ignored by many criminals.
  • Criminals may vandalize or steal cameras.
  • If you are not able to respond in real-time, theft is unlikely to be prevented.

5. Alternate Locations

Deliveries do not need to come to your residence. You can choose an alternate location for your packages to arrive, such as an office, a friend’s home, or even the physical storefront for your delivery company. As long as it isn’t out of the way, you still benefit from the convenience of delivery.

You are not always in a position to improve your apartment security, but a friend or close-by relative may live in a safe neighborhood. If you want to know how to prevent package theft because you get home late every day and packages sit too long, then deliver to the office.

Instead of coming up with your own crime prevention strategies, send you packages somewhere they have already implemented more adequate security. As long as you have permission to have things delivered to a location, there is no issue.

If you have trouble with employee theft at your office, this might not be the best delivery location. And some deliveries may require a specific street address. For example, UPS does not deliver to P.O. boxes, and other companies may have similar reactions.

You may want to keep the package in the hands of your delivery company up until the moment you can physically hold it. And if you are having shipments sent to FedEx, UPS, or Amazon storefronts, the times where you can pick your packages up will depend on business hours.

Pros

  • Someone else has to figure out how to prevent package theft.
  • You can choose a location convenient to your commute.
  • Deliveries do not need to be sent to vulnerable locations.

Cons

  • Pickup locations may undermine the convenience of delivery. 
  • Some delivery companies restrict available delivery locations.
  • Delivery locations may have their own security vulnerabilities.

Closing Words

How to prevent package theft comes down to stopping mistakes from happening in the delivery process. Even if you buy the right lockbox, your delivery person has to use it. Gates with pages left outside them do not stop package theft.

Other concerns for how to prevent package theft revolve around improper planning. Are you using your security cameras correctly? Can neighbors be relied on to bring in packages? Is your package dropped off somewhere you can get to before it closes? 

If you need any security improvements or end up getting locked out of your lockbox or lost a mailbox key, see if there is a United Locksmith near you. And for those of you with general questions or specific insights, please leave them in the comments section below.

Category: How To's, Residential, Safety & Security


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