In the ever-growing world of e-commerce and delivery of packages to your home, crimes of opportunity may be too tempting for neighborhood thieves to resist. There are, however, a few ways to decrease your risk of becoming a victim of these porch pirates and ensure the safe delivery of your packages.

Security Precautions

Short of an outdoor package dropbox, there are other precautions you can take to try to prevent your deliveries from being taken before you are able to bring them into your home.

The presence of security cameras on your property, specifically near your front door, is an effective deterrent to crime. People engage in crimes of opportunity, such as helping themselves to your delivered parcels, because of the perceived low risk. Criminals do not want to be captured on film where they can possibly be identified and prosecuted. The presence of a security camera, in plain sight yet out of reach of tampering, may be enough to prevent a potential thief from removing the package you had delivered to your home.

Your cell phone and a myriad of apps can be useful security tools. Many home cameras, through the use of an application, allow you to see your property remotely. Not only can you view your home in real-time, but you can also be alerted when motion is detected.

Plan Ahead

If you know you will not be home when a delivery is expected, schedule the delivery for a time when you will be. If your schedule and the delivery schedule cannot be reconciled, make arrangements and have your item delivered to your place of employment. Alternatively, if you have an available friend or neighbor, ask them to retrieve your package for you and then go get it when you’re able to.

At the time of ordering, most sites offer the opportunity to add special delivery instructions. Take advantage of this service and ask for your package to be left in a less conspicuous spot than at your front door. If you have another entry point to your home or a back porch, change your drop off point and keep your parcel out of plain sight for passers-by.

Barring the aforementioned alternatives, you can also avoid delivery altogether by opting for in-store pickup when possible.

Community Effort

Strength in numbers is an effective tactic in combating crime, especially so close to home. Talk to your neighbors. Work together to keep an eye out for each others’ homes. Take the time to be familiar with certain details in your neighborhood. Make mental notes of the vehicles your neighbors drive. Pay attention to the colors and types of vehicles their friends and family visit them in. Having an idea of which cars belong in your neighborhood will also help you to identify which vehicles seem out of place.

Report suspicious vehicles or activities to your local police department immediately. If a vehicle seems out of place or is driving especially slowly down the street, stopping in front of various houses, take down as much detail as you can:

  • Write down the license plate number
  • Note the make, model and color of the car
  • Did anything about the vehicle stand out like a bumper sticker or damage?
  • How many people were in the car?
  • Describe the people the best you can, including gender and race

Contact the police to report the suspicious vehicle when you see it. The sooner you contact the authorities, the more chances they have to find the car, make contact with the occupants and take appropriate actions.

By implementing straightforward security techniques, communicating with your neighbors and being cognizant of your surroundings, you can greatly reduce your chances of being a victim of home delivery theft.