How to Prevent Package Theft in Multifamily Communities
8 Min Read
Written by: Parcel Pending
With free shipping, same-day delivery, and autofill payment information, it’s easier than ever to shop from online retailers. The next purchase is little more than a click away. Because of its convenience, e-commerce has been growing steadily, increasing 23% year-over-year. In turn, there’s been a growing influx of package deliveries to multifamily communities.
Both Online Shopping and Package Theft Are on the Rise
Consumers can track their shipments in real-time with ease, all the way to their doorstep. However, once a package is delivered, that information comes to a sudden halt. It’s during this vulnerable time that most package theft occurs, as package theft is largely a crime of opportunity.
Not only is package theft upsetting, but it’s also expensive. A Ring report found that:
- The average value of a stolen package is $140.
- Victims of package theft lost 2.6 packages each year on average.
The Prevalence of Package Theft in Multifamily Communities
In multifamily communities, property managers are responsible for package management. If they distribute packages at the wrong time or have no process around package distribution, porch pirates will likely reap the benefits.
Due to these security concerns, many online shoppers are taking safety measures into their own hands, as evidenced by the following Shorr Packaging statistics:
- 31% of people have had a package stolen from their porch.
- 41% of people avoid buying certain items online due to fear of theft.
- 35% of people have their packages shipped to an alternate address to avoid theft.
- 53% of people have changed their plans to wait at home for a package even though it didn’t require a signature.
Rather than placing the burden of ensuring package security on residents, property managers can instead take a proactive approach to prevent package theft. By doing so, they can greatly enhance resident satisfaction.
What Are the Signs of Package Theft?
To determine whether a property needs to increase its security measures, look for the following telltale signs of package theft.
#1 Residents Are Reporting Theft
When a resident notices that their package is missing at their door, they will most likely reach out to management and inquire as to its whereabouts. The package could have been misdelivered. It could still be sitting in the property package or mailroom.
It could also be lost to theft.
Reviewing missing package reports can help property managers identify if theft is a notable issue. If these reports are common, it’s obvious that package theft is a significant problem. At that point, a property manager should look into improving community package security.
#2 Residents Don’t Feel Safe Shipping to Their Primary Residence
If residents don’t feel comfortable shipping to the property, they may take security precautions into their own hands. To prevent package theft, surveyed online shoppers will do the following:
- 15% will ship the package to a friend or family member.
- 15% will ship the package to their workplace.
- 13% will ask the carrier to hide the package upon delivery.
That adds up to more than 30% of people shipping their packages to an alternate location to avoid having their package stolen. If residents are rearranging their schedules, shipping elsewhere, or attempting to hide their parcels, they clearly don’t feel satisfied with the package security offered by their multifamily property. This means that property managers should take initiative and do something about the package theft problem.
#3 Theft is Captured On Surveillance Footage
Most multifamily communities have some sort of video surveillance. To verify if theft is a real problem, review this footage and look for porch pirates in the act. Take note of questionable strangers lurking around.
Keep in mind that many porch pirates have become quite sophisticated, going as far as dressing in uniforms to disguise their identity. If property managers spot theft in the security footage, it’s an obvious indicator that new package procedures are in order.
How to Prevent Package Theft in Multifamily Communities
While package theft is a pervasive problem in today’s world, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, with the right security measures, it is totally preventable. Here are our top package security recommendations for multifamily property managers.
Install More Security Cameras
No one likes to be caught red-handed. That’s why visible security cameras are an effective tool for preventing package theft. Research on security cameras has found that:
- 60% of burglars avoid stealing from properties that have security cameras.
- Surveillance cameras can reduce overall crime by 50%.
In the event that package theft is still an issue, catching the culprit will be much easier with video evidence. This also puts a package theft victim in a better position to seek remediation. Community security cameras can reassure residents that their multifamily property is investing in their security, both around packages and on the whole.
Some best practices for installing security cameras include placing them up high and utilizing motion detection. By doing so, any footage captured will provide a wide-angle view and remain out of criminals’ reach.
Hire Security Guards
Hiring a security guard is another way to deter theft and other crimes from taking place within the community. While security cameras can catch thieves after the fact, security guards can stop them in real-time. The presence of a guard in uniform can be very intimidating to wannabe criminals. It may even scare them away for good.
Security guards can also monitor community visitors. If someone suspicious is poking around, they’ll notice before anyone else.
Having security guards patrolling the premises is a selling point for many residents. Residents take comfort in knowing someone is watching out for them and, in case of a crime, they’ll have someone to turn to.
Post Signs to Make Security Measures Known
Posting signs brings awareness to any new security measures and it’s an inexpensive, effective way to deter theft. The more that porch pirates know they’re being watched, the less comfortable they’ll feel committing a crime.
By posting signs that call attention to the security camera system, having hired security staff patrol the grounds, and highlighting any other notable security measures that are in place, communities can successfully deter criminal activity.
Create a Security-Focused Package Distribution Protocol
Every multifamily community should have a defined system for sorting and distributing packages. Unfortunately, these systems sometimes fail to take security into account. Property managers should train package distribution staff to be security-focused every step of the way.
For example, consider storing packages in a secure room and notifying residents upon delivery. Alternatively, property managers can develop a system where packages can be delivered in person, rather than placed outside front doors. Staff should be trained on how to properly handle signature-required deliveries.
By training staff to prioritize security, package theft will be much less likely to occur. However, this solution can be time-consuming and inconvenient for larger communities. That’s why we’ve saved the best package theft prevention tip for last.
Invest in Parcel Pending Smart Package Lockers
Parcel Pending’s smart lockers are a comprehensive solution for property package theft. They provide a secure location to store delivered packages until residents are available to pick them up at their convenience. And, most importantly, they eliminate opportunities for a thief trying to steal a package.
With 24/7 accessibility, package lockers offer residents flexibility, convenience, and package peace of mind.
A survey of 84,000 renters conducted by Concept Community discovered the following:
- 26% of renters receive at least one package per month.
- 27% of renters have experienced problems and inefficiencies with package delivery at their multifamily community.
- 28% of renters said that package lockers are “very important” apartment amenities.
Looking for more ways to appeal to Millennials? Check out our 5 Renovation Ideas with Millennial Renters in Mind.
Benefits Beyond Security
Not only do smart lockers keep packages hidden and secure, but they also offer a host of other notable benefits:
- Reduced operational costs – Smart lockers reduce the labor costs associated with sorting and distribution, saving multifamily properties up to 24 hours of work each week. This not only saves the property money, but also allows staff to focus on other aspects of their job.
- Customized features – Parcel Pending’s lockers also include refrigeration capabilities. With the growing popularity of grocery and perishable goods deliveries (like flowers or medicines), these refrigerated parcel lockers can cater every type of delivery. Our lockers can also be configured to seamlessly match the property and its aesthetics.
- Cloud-based video surveillance – Parcel Pending’s smart lockers come equipped with cloud-based video surveillance, adding another layer of protection to the package delivery and pickup process.
- Improved resident satisfaction – Residents want a convenient and secure way to receive their packages. Smart lockers give them just that. In fact, our lockers have been shown to increase lease renewals by 40%!
Parcel Pending smart lockers are well worth the one-time investment.
Prevent Package Theft with Parcel Pending
The package theft problem isn’t going anywhere. That’s why it’s in property managers’ best interest to develop smart apartment solutions for package theft.
Fortunately, package theft is completely preventable with the right security measures. While Parcel Pending lockers are the most comprehensive solution, there are a variety of security measures out there that can make a difference. Try out a mix of these recommendations and lobby amenities to give residents the community they deserve!
- Marketplace Pulse. U.S. E-commerce Growth Rate.
- Ring. Home Security: Smart Technology Protecting Consumers’ Homes.
- Shorr Packaging Corporation. The 2017 Package Theft Report: Porch Pirates, Purchase Habits, and Privacy.
- The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Through the eyes of a burglar: Study provides insights on habits and motivations, importance of security.
- The New York Times. The Crime Rate Drops, and a City Credits Its Embrace of Surveillance Technology.
- Multifamily Executive Magazine. Stat of the Week: Package Lockers, by the Numbers.