how to prevent stolen packages

I get a lot of package shipments - so many that I know my FedEx and UPS delivery people by name and they even wave to me on the street. Generally speaking, these guys are all top notch individuals. That makes it that much more frustrating though when I see a message that a package has been delivered and then I get to my door and it's not there anymore. Package theft is simply a fact of life these days and there's not much you can do to prevent the act, but there are some things you can do to make it less likely. Here's what I've done to keep my packages safe.

While I live in an urban loft-style apartment, most of these points will work for any home or apartment. Let's take a look at ways that you can reduce the likelihood of package theft ...

Retrieve Your Packages as Soon As You Can

Time is the enemy here. No matter if you live in a locked building like I do or an open street. There are bad people waiting to steal your stuff. The absolute best piece of advice is to make sure you retrieve your package as quickly as possible. Not only will this help reduce the chances that it will be stolen - it will also help reduce the chances that your package might be damaged by weather.

Work With Your Neighbors To Watch Out For Each Other

Rely on your neighbors for help. This means that if you know your neighbor is away on vacation or will be getting home later that day - take their package in. Make sure to clear that with them ahead of time obviously though. If you are going to be going on a trip, make sure to let your neighbors know and ask them to do the same for you. 


Schedule Your Deliveries

Your package is less likely to be stolen if you’re able to secure it yourself. You can ensure that you’re around when your package arrives by coordinating with your shipping company. Some companies even have online tools like this FedEx ship manager that allow customers to do just that and much more online. UPS and Amazon also offer similar services and the US Postal Service will also allow you to hold mail and packages.

Add Extra Instructions For Your Courier

You can ask your courier to leave your package in a specific (and preferably hidden) area at your house. This option is available in the Delivery Instructions text box when you’re entering shipping information. Most package theft instances happen on the front porch, which is also the default place that couriers leave packages. In the building where I live, delivery people started leaving packages in the mail-room instead of delivering to our individual units. Once other delivery agents saw that there were packages there, the trend caught on. Unfortunately thieves noticed this too. For a few days, we'd walk by Amazon packages that were ripped open and items were either removed or left depending on their perceived value.

With a quick e-chat conversation with Amazon they marked my account that deliveries were to only be delivered to my front door. Since then I haven't had a package lost. 

Amazon also has a bunch of other innovative solutions such as being able to deliver to the trunk of certain cars connected to their system and the same with homes that have smart locks.


Consider In-Store Pickup Instead of Delivery

Another option you have is to simply have the shipping company hold the package at the branch closest to where you intend to have the package shipped. This is the most secure option but it also means that you’re going to have to pick up the package yourself, which, in a way, kind of beats the purpose of paying for delivery fees. It’s still better than losing your package to theft though.


Monitor Your Front Door

Most thieves are looking for easy marks. I have a doorbell camera as well as a mounted security camera monitoring my front door. It's conspicuous and while it will not prevent someone from stealing a package, just the threat that they will be recorded and potentially identified tends to be a pretty good deterrent.  

As an added bonus, if your package does get stolen, you have a chance to catch the package thief, which, in my opinion, is going to help out the entire community.