Online shopping has made life easy for all of us, including package thieves, better known as porch pirates. As everyone is getting ready for the holiday season and doing their shopping, the Dallas Police Department would like to give some safety tips for package delivery. We hope that these tips will help keep your packages out of the hands of those pesky porch pirates.
- Don’t let your packages sit. Monitor when your packages are expected to arrive. Leaving your packages on your porch or in your mailbox overnight is an open invitation to thieves.
- Ship to an alternate address. Depending on where you work, your company may allow you to ship your packages directly to your place of business. Check with management to see if this is acceptable. In addition, consider shipping your packages to a friend or relative’s home.
- Signature on delivery. Consider having your packages delivered only when someone is available to sign for them.
- Ship to your local pack and ship store. If you have a UPS, FedEx, or other locally owned packing and shipping store nearby, consider sending your packages there.
- Talk to your neighbors. If you have neighbors who are home during the day, consider asking them to collect your packages on the delivery date. More than likely, they’ll be willing to help which can eliminate some holiday stress for you.
- Insure your holiday packages. Because package thefts increases around the holiday season, it may be wise to place insurance on your packages. This way, if your package is stolen, you can be reimbursed for your loss.
- Use a wireless home monitoring system. Use a wireless monitor that allows you to see your porch. You’ll know when packages are being delivered and see visitors, even when you are not at home. Some devices will allow you to set off alarms for snoopers, as well as ask questions to those approaching.
- Ship to the store. Some retailers allow you to ship to a store near you. While this isn’t as convenient, it does provide security and helps avoid long lines at the register. Some stores even offer special parking near the entrance.
- Install a package lock-box. If you have deliveries showing up daily, you may want to consider installing a lock-box. These boxes can be bolted to your front porch. Once installed, share your code with your delivery service and you should be good to go.
- Use a temporary P.O. Box. Many delivery services such as UPS or FedEx will not deliver to a traditional P.O. Box address but will deliver to a street address that just happens to be in a Postal Delivery Service Office. Many of those offices will even call you when you have a package arrives and take a photo of it for you to see ahead of time. The UPS Store has this service, as well as many privately-owned companies. Check your local listings to find a location near you and perhaps rent the P.O. Box through the season. Be mindful of contract terms and fees.
- Use Smart Package Lockers or Convenience Store. To avoid your Amazon package being stolen from your front porch, use an Amazon Locker. Amazon allows you to pick up your delivery in an Amazon Locker at selected locations across the country. Amazon provides a unique code that you can punch into the machine to retrieve your package.
- Reroute or Reschedule Deliveries to Prevent Package Theft. If you are not sure whether or not you will be home for the holidays to receive your package(s) when it arrives at your front door, you can track your shipment either on a package tracking app or by requesting the tracking information in advance. As a reminder, make a phone call to the delivery man or call your neighbors or friends to help receive the package when it arrives.
Please be vigilant not only during the holiday season, but all year round. If you see something suspicious, call 9-1-1.
The men and women of the Dallas Police Department would like to wish everyone a Happy Holiday!