It is easier to order something now than ever before and have it delivered to your home, often in just a few days. Services like Amazon and Walmart even offer free two-day shipping and depending on where you live and what you order, Amazon offers same-day delivery.
That allows you to save money over driving to the store and the hassle of dealing with long lines at the checkout, not to mention trying to find the exact items you’re looking for.
With just how easy online shopping is, you probably receive a handful of boxes delivered to your door every month. This is great, but unless you’re at home when the delivery comes, you will have a box just sitting outside, proclaiming to the world you have something waiting for you.
The box is far-too easily picked up and snatched by porch pirates, which leaves you high and dry.
Sure, you might be able to file a claim with where you ordered the product and the delivery company, but this takes time to process. Instead, you need to take package theft prevention into your own hands.
Here are several of the best ways to help you avoid porch pirates and protect your packages.
1. Have Packages Left Inside Your Home
Amazon has a new feature that pairs with smart locks from a number of manufacturers. The smart lock is connected to your home’s network Wi-Fi, allowing it to be unlocked by someone with the correct access code. A smart lock has a number of benefits, but it may also help keep your package safe.
With a smart lock, you can sign up for Amazon Key. This service allows your delivery driver to unlock your front door or garage and place the package inside your home.
If you have pets you might want to opt for the garage option, or at the very least keep your pets secured and away from the front door.
Now, you might not like the sound of a total stranger opening your home and putting a package inside. However, it is an especially secure process.
Once the driver knocks and there is no answer they will send a request to Amazon to unlock your door. Amazon will then make sure the package address and home address match.
Amazon will then send you a notification of the package being delivered and remotely unlock your door. The driver will never have any key code. The driver will then place the package just inside the door (without entering your home) and then Amazon will lock the door.
During the process, you’ll receive notifications of the arrival and any other key information. If you have a smart lock you can also pair it with a smart doorbell with a video feed.
This way, you can actually watch the package be delivered (or watch it later as the camera will record the movement in front of your door).
Of course, you’ll need to feel comfortable with someone opening your front door, and you will need to purchase a number of smart devices including the smart lock and probably the smart doorbell. So there’s a large investment involved. However, it is one of the best ways to help you avoid porch pirates.
2. Talk to Your Delivery Driver
You can change your delivery instructions so packages are not left at your front door. There are two ways you can go about doing this. You can leave the instructions when you place the order with Amazon or another company you are buying the product from.
Or, you can leave instructions with the particular carrier. Perhaps you want to have the package dropped off on your back porch instead of the front porch. There are all kinds of options available for you here.
Now, you will need to leave instructions with each carrier service. If you order a product through Amazon Prime you’ll need to let Prime know as they now rely on their own delivery service for most packages.
You’ll also need to let UPS and FedEx know. If you receive packages from the USPS you’ll need to tell them about the instructions as well. So you’ll need to put in some effort to make sure everyone knows what is going on.
Additionally, it might take some adjustments from your package delivery driver.
While this isn’t going to be perfect, it is a good option to consider, especially if you’re just starting to price porch lock boxes and other services.
3. Porch Lockers
Maybe you don’t want to deal with setting up a smart lock on your front door. Or you don’t feel safe when somebody else can remotely open your door. Or perhaps you have pets and there’s no way to keep them away from the door. Whatever the reason may be, you’ll want to consider a porch locker.
A porch locker is basically a lockable mailbox for your packages. Now, you’ll need to have a basic understanding of what size package you’ll likely receive. If you’re getting a lot of packages or they are usually bigger in size, you can opt-in for an extra large porch locker.
With the porch locker though you’ll have a locker-like box placed by your front door, on the porch, on the side of the house, or wherever you might want it.
The delivery driver can then insert the package into the box. Once the box is inside it will be held in a weatherproof locker that cannot be accessed without a key or key code. It works similar to the blue mailboxes around town, where once the mail is deposited it will be held in a lockable compartment that can’t be accessed or opened.
A porch locker does have some advantages over the Amazon Key feature. Amazon Key does work with packages not ordered through Amazon, but there might be carriers that do not work with Amazon Key.
Depending on where you live you likely will have a regional carrier that offers a number of local deliveries (OnTrac, for example, services much of the West Coast and may take some deliveries).
If the delivery service does not work with Amazon then the package will still be left outside, which puts your package at risk of being stolen. With the porch lock box that will never be an issue. Regardless of the delivery service, they will simply insert the package and it will be waiting for you once you arrive back home.
4. Delivered to a Local Holding Spot
If you order most of your packages through Amazon you can take advantage of a local delivery location. Amazon has set up a number of locker services around cities so you don’t need to worry about having your package left outside your home. Instead, the package will be delivered to the locker.
You will then receive a notification and access code upon delivery. Once you have the information you just need to go to the delivery location, enter your information, and you’ll be able to unlock the locker and pick up your package.
There are a number of delivery locations available, especially if you live in larger metro areas. Delivery locations can range from inside of Walmarts to even inside of apartment buildings.
You can choose which location you want your package to be delivered to, and then when you have the opportunity you can go and pick up your package.
If you know you’re going to be gone on the day of delivery this might be a good option for you. Instead of hoping your package is not stolen off the porch or requesting your neighbor to go pick it up, you can simply have it held at the Amazon delivery location.
Of course, this option only really works for Amazon deliveries, so if you are ordering from another service provider you won’t be able to use this option.
If you expect a number of deliveries throughout the week (such as if you run a business) you may want to consider setting up a P.O. box at your local post office. The downside to this is there will be a monthly rental fee based on the size of the box you rent.
5. Video Doorbell
Video doorbells and other smart video technology are making it easier than ever before to protect your home.
With these devices, which can have a video camera built into the doorbell, you will receive a notification on your phone when movement is detected by your front door. This way you can watch your delivery driver drop off the package.
If you have it paired with a smart lock you can actually communicate with the driver and unlock the door for them. This way you won’t need to work with Amazon Key to unlock the door.
Of course, you’ll need to be available right when the driver arrives, so it isn’t foolproof, but it is an option if you’ve been thinking about upgrading your security features.
If you have only the video doorbell it doesn’t completely help with package safety though. It will still be left on the porch or by your front door. The main benefit here though is at least you can capture what the thief looks like, which makes it easier to find whoever stole your package.
Protect Your Deliveries
These are just a few of the options you have available to help avoid porch pirates. Whether you’ve been the victim of such theft or you’re being proactive, each of these options, from Amazon Key to a porch lock box will help protect your deliveries.
With delivery theft on the rise, now is the time to take action and do what you can to protect your valuables.