6 Tips for Package Theft Prevention

A woman demonstrating package theft prevention.

Over a third of Americans have suffered an incident of package theft at some point. Numbers rise during peak sales periods, such as Black Friday when homes might receive a steady stream of deliveries. Although lawmakers are starting to impose stiffer fines for package thieves, the best deterrent is not necessarily a patrol car. It’s what else is on the porch. Package thieves will usually stay well clear of houses protected by doorbell security cameras, and avoid areas with a neighborhood watch. Follow these 6 package theft prevention tips to keep your next delivery safe. 

How Can I Ensure Package Theft Prevention?

Whatever strategy package thieves use, outfox them with technology. The ingenuity of package thieves would almost be worthy of admiration if it weren’t for the damage they cause. More than 260 million packages are stolen annually, with a total value topping $19.5 billion. For opportunist thieves patrolling an area or following delivery vehicles, porch pirating is seen as a relatively low-risk crime. If no one is home, they can help themselves. If they are surprised on the doorstep, they can pretend they were either leaving a delivery themselves or searching for a nearby address. 

Set up a Video Doorbell Camera

Today’s HD video doorbell security cameras — with the Lockly Vision Elite leading the pack as the all-in-one solution combining a smart lock and camera doorbell — give thieves nowhere to hide. No package pirate wants their likeness posted on the local social media community group or shared with law enforcement. The doorbell camera’s live video stream allows you to:

  • Challenge anyone on your porch via intercom and ask to see their credentials. 
  • Be notified and recorded when someone is at your door (via motion sensor).
  • Monitor your doorstep even when you’re not at home via live stream.

Camera footage is also saved in the cloud and on a local SD card for future reference. 

Place Security Cameras in Other Areas

Your video doorbell will cover the main entrance, but it’s a good idea to ask delivery couriers to leave your package at a rear or side entrance. There, it will be hard to spot from the street, yet it will remain in view of security cameras on your home’s exterior. 

As a rule of thumb, train a security camera (which can be motion-triggered) on whatever spot you have designated for packages, whether it’s a mailbox, dropbox, or covered recess. You’ll be able to check that the package is still there, but no one else will know. 

Choose Motion Sensor Lights

In the winter months, thieves have way too many hours of darkness for cover. Exterior lights keep them away, and motion-triggered lights add the element of surprise. You can’t expect your neighbors to track everyone passing through the area after dark, but their attention will be grabbed if your lights suddenly come on. Better lighting also assists your security cameras in capturing clear images of whoever is outside. 

Leave a Decoy

With the caveat that you should leave all the investigative work to professional law enforcement, there’s a clever way to “follow” package thieves that uses their own misdeeds against them. It’s often the last resort for homeowners who suffer persistent theft and suspect that an organized gang is active in their area. Place a GPS tracker or AirTag in a decoy package on your porch, and follow it from your smartphone app to their location. Then call the police. Never go to the location to retrieve your package personally. 

Post Stickers and Signs

Thieves will keep on driving if they see signs at the curbside or stickers in the window suggesting that the home or area is secured and under surveillance. Likewise, let outsiders know that they’re in a Neighborhood Watch area if you have one established. If you do choose the technology route, you should make sure that your system is connected, operational, and set up to store footage if thieves do strike. 

What to Do in Shared Buildings

Apartment blocks or condo residences pose a particular set of challenges. On the one hand, it’s unlikely that you’ll be authorized to install your own surveillance devices at the main entrance (but you can fit a video doorbell camera smart lock on your own door). On the other hand, it’s even easier for thieves to wander around unchallenged. That leaves you with these options:

  • Arrange for couriers to drop off packages with neighbors on your hallway (that you trust) who can hold items for you until you’re home. 
  • Ask your building manager about setting up a safe locker or package room in the foyer or reception area. These give residents temporary access to retrieve packages with a QR or PIN code. 
  • Get your packages delivered to a work address instead.
  • Use delivery tracking so that you’re notified when the courier reaches your building, and require a signature so that items can’t simply be left in shared areas. 

How to Beat Package Theft with Lockly

Our video doorbell smart locks are a powerful aid for package theft prevention against porch pirates. You can even use them to handle deliveries while you’re in the house so that you never need to put your personal safety at risk. If you’re surprised at how easy it is for thieves to steal packages, wait until you see how easy it is to install a Lockly smart lock with an HD camera. Of course, these smart locks are more than a solution to package theft. They’re an essential part of your home safety checklist too.