Battle porch pirates: High- and low-tech ways to prevent package theft

porch-pirates

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — The three major delivery services, the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, and Fed-Ex, expect to deliver approximately 1.8 billion packages this holiday season.

There are a number of preventative measures you can take to ensure that deliveries safely make it from your doorstep into your hands, and not the hands of a crook.

  • FedEx ships to their locations or FedEx Express stations for free.
  • A free UPS My Choice membership gives you the option to leave packages with a neighbor (within walking distance). Or, for $5, you can request delivery to any address.
  • Amazon’s free Amazon Locker service is a similar to a one-time-use post office box. Upon checkout online, you can select an Amazon Locker location convenient to you. When your package arrives at the location, you’ll receive an unlock code to retrieve the delivery. There are Amazon Lockers in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, and a handful in Manatee, Pasco and Hernando counties.
  • The “Package Guard” ($50) is a car alarm for your porch. The frisbee-sized, WiFi-enabled device notifies your phone when a delivery arrives, and must be disarmed before the package is moved.
  • Security cameras are a great tool for identifying robbers, if the picture is clear enough. Live-streaming cameras, such as the Blink ($99) or Nest Cam ($200) notify you more quickly that a crime has been committed.
  • The August Smart Lock device ($229) remotely locks and unlocks doors. When a package is delivered, ideally you can ask a neighbor to stop by, you unlock the door, he drops off the package, and you lock the door again once that’s completed.
  • For a bigger investment, the Landport Lock Box ($500) is a steel container that bolts to any surface, and is opened with a code you share with your delivery service.

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