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Five ways to prevent theft this holiday season

E-commerce companies, those companies offering online sales, experience a 16% increase in revenue during the holiday season. With increased sales comes an increase in shipping volume, about 26%, usually directly to customers’ front doors. According to the August Home “Package Theft Report,” about 11 million homeowners have had a package stolen in the last year. And, during the holiday season, the likelihood of being a target of package theft increases 81%. But package theft isn’t limited to deliveries. Theft also occurs from vehicles when cars are left unlocked with packages in plain sight to would-be thieves. Follow these five tips to help prevent theft of your packages during the holiday season:
  1. Remove delivered packages from your porch or stoop ASAP You never know when a thief is patrolling your area looking for easy access to your property or belongings, including package deliveries. Most deliveries are made to the front entrance of a house, which means packages are on display for everyone to see as they walk or drive by.Rather than letting packages on your porch or stoop, consider asking a neighbor to receive them and keep them indoors until you get home. If that’s not an option, consider having packages delivered to an alternate location, such as your workplace, if permitted. Check with the delivery provider about choices you have regarding when and where the delivery is made. Some providers let you designate an ideal delivery time, as well as a delivery location, such as “back porch” or “side porch.” Others let you state specific instructions. For example, you could designate packages be left in a closed bin on your porch, which could help conceal the packages until you are able to retrieve them. And, some providers offer “in-home” delivery where the driver has access to your home and can place packages inside your door.Regardless of the option you choose, make sure you review all potential risks associated with it.
  2. Hold your mail at the post office when traveling Don’t let mail, newspapers, and deliveries pile up on your porch if traveling over the holiday season. Thieves targeting your house or neighborhood may monitor how often mail and packages are collected in order to establish trends for knowing when you are and aren’t home. Contact your local post office and news agency for information on how to have your mail and paper held until you return. Or, if you have a trusted neighbor or friend, you may want to consider asking him or her to check your mail and deliveries at least once a day and hold them for you.
  3. Carefully dispose of packaging that contained high-value items Thieves can be curious by nature. They’ll watch your house to see when you are and aren’t home, and will also notice what’s outside your house…including your trash. For instance, if you recently purchased an expensive television or gaming system, the packaging box likely contains the logo or photo of the contents, providing a clue to thieves that these items are inside your house.Be careful when putting this type of packaging out for recycling or trash pick up. You don’t want to advertise your purchases and household contents to the public. Take care to destroy these types of packaging by hand, if possible, so the original contents cannot be determined. If possible, consider taking this type of packaging to a recycling center yourself, after you’ve removed the shipping label.And, don’t forget to add high-value items to your home inventory list. Be sure to include the model, serial number, and description, along with a photo.
  4. Hide or disguise packages left in your car Thieves don’t just target your house, they can also target cars in parking lots. Especially crowded parking lots at malls during the busy holiday shopping season. If you must let packages in your car unattended, be sure to lock them in your trunk so they remain out of sight. At a minimum, lock all car doors and cover any packages in the vehicle in order to disguise them. Consider moving your car to different parking spots throughout the day if you’ll be spending a considerable amount of time in one store or shopping mall. Thieves will likely monitor your car’s contents at various intervals. Changing its location may help reduce the chance of theft. Also, be aware of where you park your car any time you go shopping. Stick to well-lit and high-traveled lots close to shopping buildings. Don’t park on dimly-lit side streets or in parking lots that are far from the building.
  5. Track packages online Being aware of when packages are scheduled to be delivered can help you keep track of any that go missing. Most delivery providers offer tracking information options, including notifications by e-mail or text message to keep you up-to-date on the status of your pending delivery, as well as notification when the package has been delivered. Setting up delivery notifications and alerts for all expected packages can help give you peace of mind, especially if you are expecting multiple deliveries over a short period of time. If a package is shown as having been delivered but not to you or not to the correct address, contact the delivery company as soon as possible to begin tracing the delivery path.