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10 Package Theft Prevention Tips for Homeowners

With more and more goods being ordered online, package theft is increasing: 36 percent of Americans report having a package stolen at least once. While package theft may feel inevitable, there are important steps you can take to help prevent it. Here are 10 tips for package theft prevention, from installing a home security system to having the post office hold your package.

Delivering to Your Home

If you need to get your package delivered to your home, there are several steps you can take to deter package theft.
Packages at Doorstep
  • Schedule a delivery

  • While some shipping companies are better at observing this than others, it's still worthwhile to schedule a delivery if you know you'll be home at a specific time. You can also require a signature so that the company can't leave the package if someone isn't there to receive and sign for it. You can also add delivery instructions on where to leave (hide) the package, though you can't guarantee the instructions will be followed.
  • Ask a neighbor to grab it

  • If you're on good terms with your neighbors and trust them to take care of your things, you can ask them to grab your package and bring it inside their home instead. Then, you can pick it up from them later. Of course, you should offer to reciprocate for your neighbors if you go this route so you can work together to mutually prevent package theft.
  • Install a home security system

  • Home security systems help deter would-be thieves, whether they're trying to nab your packages or something else. Outdoor security cameras like the Google Nest Secure Alarm System Starter Pack and video doorbells like the Ring Video Doorbell keep watch on your porch even when you're away. Even just putting up signs and window clings advertising a home security system will help discourage package theft. You should also keep your porch clear so that your home security system and neighbors will have an unobstructed view of possible thieves.
  • Get a smart lock

  • If you have the money and feel comfortable doing it, you can also install a smart lock, such as the August Smart Lock, to aid you in your quest for package theft prevention. These devices allow delivery people to leave a package in your garage or home when you're away.

Delivering to Secondary Locations

If you won't be at home to grab your package, you can also have it delivered to or held at a different location.
Businessman Signing for Package
  • Have it delivered to someone else's house

  • If you're worried about your package arriving during the day, you can just have it shipped to your office instead of your home. You can also have it delivered to the house of a friend or relative who lives nearby and will be home that day. For example, maybe you have a friend who works from home, or your parents are retired and often at home.
  • Ship it to the store

  • If you're ordering from a company that also has retail locations, many of them offer to ship your package directly to the store instead—sometimes they'll even do it for free! You'll be notified once your package arrives and then you can drive to the store and grab it at your convenience. While this isn't an option for eCommerce-only companies since they don't have physical locations, it's a great alternative if you have a lot of stores nearby.
  • Hold it at the post office

  • The United States Postal Service will hold your package, as will UPS and FedEx stores. Each of them has a different limit on how long they can hold your package and may require a fee to hold or redirect it to a new address en route. Visit each carrier's website for specific details and costs. You may also be able to get your package delivered to a parcel locker.

Other Helpful Tips

No matter where or how your package is being delivered, the following tips will help protect you against missing or damaged parcels.
Woman Signing for Package
  • Sign up for tracking alerts

  • Regardless of what other methods you choose, you should sign up for tracking alerts on important deliveries so you can be notified when they're delivered. This will allow you to run home and grab them or pick them up from a locker in a timely manner before someone else can get to them first.
  • Insure your packages

  • Whether you're the one shipping or receiving, you may want to look into package insurance, especially if the parcel is expensive or hard to replace. Some packages under a certain value are covered automatically, though it varies from carrier to carrier. For example, domestic UPS and FedEx parcels are covered automatically up to a value of $100 against loss or damage, but USPS only provides an automatic $100 of coverage on Express Mail.
  • Request nondescript packaging

  • Some companies let you select plain gift packaging so that it's not clear where the parcel shipped from or what it contains. This is a good option if you're getting something from a retailer that has distinctive packaging and normally sells high-end items that would be an appealing target for thieves. Package theft doesn't have to be a fact of the online shopping life. Follow these 10 tips to prevent package theft and keep your parcels out of the wrong hands.