The holidays – and holiday shopping season – are well underway across the Sunshine State. For Florida residents that prefer shopping for gifts online, it’s a time to watch not just their wallets and bank accounts, but their porches as well for package thieves, also known as “porch pirates,” that may try to take off with holiday deliveries themselves.
According to a 2018 Xfinity Home survey, about a quarter of respondents have been victims of package theft. Check out the holiday package prevention tips below to learn how online shoppers can use technology to help deter potential thieves this holiday season – and make sure their gifts get wrapped and under the tree where they belong!
Package Theft Prevention Tips from Xfinity
- Track Your Packages – An easy first step to deterring holiday package theft is to know what deliveries are arriving and when. You can typically get package tracking information from either the online retailer you made a purchase with, such as Amazon or Target, or from the shipper that is delivering the packages, like the US Postal Service or FedEx. Once your package is on its way, you can sign up for tracking alerts via email, text message or even app notifications. That way you can follow your shipment’s progress and be prepared to retrieve and get packages inside quickly once they are delivered to your home.
- Install Home Security Cameras and Smart Devices – A Xfinity Home survey found that 74 percent of people thought having a visible home security camera is an effective way to prevent packages from being stolen – but only 31 percent said they actually had one. Home security and automation services, like those from Xfinity Home, offer streaming video cameras with 24/7 continuous recording and smart lights that you can control from your smartphone anywhere, anytime. Smart lights are also a great deterrent and you can control them easily from your device, turning them on or off, so burglars think someone is home even when no one is. A well-lit home is a safer home.
- Have a Back-Up Plan – The holidays are a busy time – you might end up not being able to be home when a package is due to arrive or the shipper’s initial timeline for delivery is shifted by weather or other delays. Have a back-up plan, like asking a friend or neighbor, to swing by your place to pick up a package or place it inside for you – rather than leaving it outside for hours to be spotted by potential thieves.
- Consider Alternative Pick-Up Options – With a big-ticket purchase, like a pricey electronic gadget, it’s worth it to consider setting up an alternative to home delivery to eliminate potential package theft. You could have it delivered to your office or a PO Box. Amazon can deliver an item to a locker that only you can open with a unique code. Or have the item delivered to a store itself, like Target or Wal-Mart, for in-person pick-up. Some even offer curbside pick-up service, so although you will have to drive to the store, you won’t have to get out of your vehicle to get your purchase.
- Report Stolen Packages to Police – If the worst happens, and you are a victim of package theft, then report it to the police. Don’t assume you’re the only one in the neighborhood and that it doesn’t matter. Thieves often work in networks and steal from multiple homes. If your package is stolen, first try contacting the shipper and follow up by reporting the stolen package to your local police department. By numerous reports being filed, police can collect more evidence by putting the pieces together and identifying perpetrators. No detail is too small, even footage from cars parked on the street, or a few numbers from a license plate can make or break a case.
For more information on Xfinity Home security and automation features, visit Xfinity.com/learn/home-security.