During the holidays, you may be one of the many people who prefer online shopping to in-store shopping. After all, why fight the traffic and potentially have your item sold out when you could just order online and get the exact thing you want, delivered straight to your doorstep?
Unfortunately, thieves have caught on that we’re a little lazy, and during the holidays the thieves really get to enjoy themselves. You’ve probably seen the many, many, many examples of thieves following FedEx trucks and other delivery drivers to steal items that have just been delivered.
You may think that theft of packages couldn’t happen to you: maybe your neighborhood is really nice, or you’re home a lot, but the truth is, theft can happen anywhere, at any time. Nice neighborhoods get targeted for that very reason: they’re nice, and likely nice presents are arriving on the doorstep! Also, package delivery times could get delayed, meaning you’re not home to intercept the package from the mail carrier like you anticipated.
I mention all of these potential reasons because it’s happened to me. I live in a decent neighborhood and try to schedule packages for when someone is home, yet I’ve had 3 packages stolen in the last 2 months. The joke is, none of them were presents – just dog food!
However, since our last package theft, my fiance and I implemented some affordable steps to keeping our packages safe – and we haven’t had any thefts for the last few weeks. Here are several affordable ways you can prevent holiday theft – now and in the future!
Prevent Holiday Theft the Simple Way
One of the best ways to prevent holiday theft this year is simple and free: schedule your deliveries to go somewhere safe. If your work permits, see if you can have items delivered to your work. Some companies (like Amazon, Harry & David, etc.) will allow you to pick your delivery date. Yes, while delivery dates can be delayed, they usually arrive some time on the day they say they will.
If the retailer offers it, sign up for text and email alerts for when your package is out for delivery. Some companies will allow you to track your package, which makes it even easier for you to know where your package is and when it should approximately arrive.
If you have a trusted family member or friend, you could ask them to keep an eye out for your package, especially if you’re not able to get home in time for delivery. It’s a good idea in general to have someone you trust keep an eye out on your home, but it’s even more important when you’re expecting an important delivery.
If the worst happens and your package is stolen, you’ve at least tracked your package as far as it can go, and you’ll know it’s been stolen. When my first package was stolen, I had received a text message confirmation from Amazon that it was delivered. When I got home to find it missing, I at least knew it was stolen and was able to request a refund immediately. While it’s not ideal, it does save you some time and hassle.
Slightly More Expensive: Invest in Appropriate Lighting
Thieves love nothing more than easy opportunities. Unlocked car with valuables on the front seat? Score! Dark house with an easy-to-unlatch window, or a window covered by a shrub to hide in? Even better! While some thieves are content to “just” steal your packages, others know there are better items inside and want to break in.
Note: never try to get into a fight with a burglar. If you hear someone trying to break into your home, call 9-1-1 immediately. You may consider shouting and making a lot of noise to deter them, but this doesn’t work in all cases, which is why calling 9-1-1 immediately and following their instructions is your best option.
Don’t let yourself become an easy victim. Make your house look completely unappealing by turning on your outdoor lights (you have at least one outside the front door, right?) and consider investing in outdoor path lighting. You don’t have to get anything too big or expensive, just a few brightly lit lights around your walkway and/or near your windows will be enough to deter thieves.
Take a page from Home Alone: thieves really do not like homes that look like they have a lot of activity. Key words: look like. You don’t have to throw a crazy party every night to deter thieves from breaking in, you just have to make it look like you’re home, ready to call the police if thieves try to break in.
Escalate It: Surveillance
This might sound a little paranoid, but if you’re willing to spend a little more money, you might want to invest in a home surveillance system. This doesn’t have to be a crazy expensive option, either: you don’t need that many video cameras to effectively monitor your package deliveries.
Simply set up one to two cameras at the front of your house: one pointing down from your front door (or where ever packages are delivered) and one in another location, again pointed toward the delivery area but also covering the walkway area.
You want at least 2 cameras so you can get a few angles. You never know how thieves will approach your house, so it’s best to cover as much area as you can.
We implemented the following options, including multiple cameras, and since then we haven’t had a single package stolen. We actually did catch a man try our front door (he turned the handle to see if it was unlocked), and we provided a copy of that segment of tape to our local police department as an FYI.
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While it may seem impossible, you can help prevent holiday theft by being proactive and aware. You’ll be surprised what a little awareness can do to keep you, your packages, and even your loved ones safe this year – throughout the holiday season and beyond. What steps have you taken to secure your home and deliveries, and is there anything I missed that I should add?