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It’s the holiday shopping and shipping season, which means porch pirates are out on the prowl once again. Contact7 is here to help with seven ways to prevent your packages from being stolen.
U.S. Postal Inspector Eric Manuel said consumers have to take some responsibility for protecting their property.
“We have to now be more vigilant as consumers to make sure we’re taking steps to protect ourselves,” Manuel said.
The United States Postal Service expects to deliver 800 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
If you’re expecting a delivery through USPS, you can have them hold your mail. Just sign up for a free account with usps.com. Once your hold is set up, you can simply pick up your package from a nearby post office. FedEx also offers a hold service for deliveries.
If you buy and send items directly through Amazon, there are several options to avoid having packages placed in open view on your porch.
Prime members can opt for Key by Amazon in their home, car or garage. Each requires something slightly different (i.e. a WiFi-enabled garage door opener for Key for Garage or a compatible smart lock for Key for Home) but all allow the delivery driver to leave the package in your home, car or garage. They can’t move on to the next delivery until your home or car is re-locked. Amazon customers can also order packages to be delivered to a local Amazon locker.
For a monthly fee, you can rent a mailbox at a UPS Store. They start at around $20 per month. Individual stores may have a minimum number of months, but you may be able to rent one short term during the holiday season.
If you’re willing to shell out a little more money, you could invest in the Bench Sentry. Inventor Ben Dehner said he created the bench to provide a secure lock box that still looks nice sitting on your front porch.
“The majority of the HOAs we researched are OK with some kind of seating area on the front porch," he said. "This one just happens to be a security seating area for the front porch."
You can order the Bench Sentry in a variety of colors and styles. But at $500, it’s definitely one of the more expensive protection options.
Security cameras may not prevent porch pirates but they will help catch them in the act and provide evidence of the theft to help you get a refund, or to show your insurance company. They may also help police catch the thief. There are many doorbell cameras in the market, generally started at around $99.
A free option is to have your packages delivered to your workplace.
Police also recommend simply making it look like someone is always home, to deter thieves. Leave the lights on and a locked car parked in the driveway.