With billions of packages now delivered annually to front porches and doorsteps across the country, home builders and multifamily community managers have had to battle a new threat to community security: parcel theft. A security product, like a package security box, video doorbell or smart lock, is helpful, but not always affordable.
How can residential communities deter criminals and ensure greater community security? What makes one residence more theft-prone than another? Here are a few ways that home builders and multifamily community managers can provide greater community safety for residents and prevent package theft.
Parcel Theft Facts and Statistics
In this day and age, most people have heard the term “porch pirate”, or at the very least seen a viral video of one. While some of these videos feature a thief foiled in some humorous way, there are just as many where the package thieves get away with their criminal act.
In the United States, the majority of reported parcel theft does not result in the apprehension of the guilty party. In fact, 90% of package thieves are never caught and prosecuted. Thieves and criminals tend to strike wherever and whenever they see an opportunity. This is especially true in residential communities where they are better able to hide or get away from the scene of the crime.
To help with package theft prevention, many communities are investing in secure parcel lockers; these security solutions ensure secure parcel delivery for the entire neighborhood. A parcel box is also a great way to conceal outgoing mail or any valuable deliveries and ensure no one in the community falls victim to theft.
Staying Home Won’t Stop A Thief
The fear of parcel theft is so common in the United States that, according to a 2017 survey, 53% of participants claimed that they would change their daily plans so that they could be home during their predicted delivery window. 20% of participants even went as far as to claim that they would leave work early in order to be home to receive mail or a package.
Unfortunately, what the American public likely doesn’t know is that:
- Porch pirates are cunning, and will often intercept a package within minutes of delivery.
- Many front porch pirates have adopted a practice of trailing a delivery driver, picking up boxes or packages as they’re dropped off, allowing them to steal multiple packages at once.
By installing a Parcel Pending smart locker system, not only will thieves be incapable of accessing resident deliveries, but the mere presence of a parcel drop box or lockbox can deter them from attempting future thefts in the neighborhood.
One-Quarter of People Have Experienced Parcel Theft
The rise of eCommerce has made parcel theft a common occurrence. More than 1.5 million packages are stolen or go missing in the U.S. every day, with 90,000 packages disappearing in New York City alone, according to an analysis conducted for the New York Times. And a recent survey by InsuranceQuotes.com, an online insurance service, showed that nearly 1 in 5 respondents nationally reported having a package stolen.
Although parcel theft is on the rise, package theft can be prevented if secure package delivery systems are implemented. Homebuilders can help create safer neighborhoods by investing in safety features such as a secure mailbox, parcel lockers, or delivery boxes in areas that are already monitored by security cameras.
Parcel Theft Comes at a High Cost
While many e-commerce transactions involve the purchase of small, inexpensive items that can be placed in a mailbox, many people use the internet for the shipment of bulkier, more expensive purchases like computers, televisions, or furniture. Part of the appeal for thieves is that any single box may contain an item of high value, which they can resell for a high profit.
Unfortunately for consumers, many package theft victims do not receive a refund if their package is stolen. Many companies must verify that the customer is not trying to commit fraud, a difficult process, and so require consumers to assume the risk of misdelivery or theft.
This means that consumers, rather than businesses, assume the following costs:
- The average value of stolen packages is $50-100.
- As many consumers order more than one box at a time, the average number of packages stolen at once is roughly 2.6 per theft victim.
- Package theft costs Americans $25 million in lost goods and services every day.
The good news for community managers and homebuilders is that parcel theft is a highly preventable crime, especially if they prioritize the installation of a residential parcel locker. A package security box that requires a key for access is a particularly effective theft prevention tool. Once criminals realize that a community is protected, they tend to move elsewhere.
Invest in Parcel Pending Electronic Lockers
There are a number of ways that multifamily communities and homebuilders can protect residents from parcel theft, but at the top of the list—and for good reason—is the use of electronic security lockers. The combination of smart technology, fortified security, and advanced communication options between the locker, delivery person, and recipient almost completely mitigates the risk of theft.
Multifamily package security boxes possess a wide range of benefits, which include:
- Packages are hidden: When looking for packages to steal, most thieves will go for easy targets. A box laying in plain sight with no security camera around is often the first to be snatched up. The delivery boxes in Parcel Pending lockers ensure that all deliveries sent to the residence are securely locked away from the time the delivery person drops it off until the resident is able to pickup the package.
- Reduced operational costs: Multifamily community staff often waste countless hours each week accepting, sorting, and distributing parcels and mail for residents. The installation of Parcel Pending lockers can eliminate up to 24 hours of time each week spent handling and sorting packages. This time can then be re-dedicated to interacting with residents or other maintenance tasks.
- Multiple locker types accommodate most deliveries: Dropping off goods like groceries and medication has always posed a unique challenge for both consumers and delivery services. Unless the delivery instruction is clear and the drop off is timed perfectly, these goods can expire before they’re placed into a refrigerated area. Parcel Pending lockers eliminate this problem by offering a refrigerated parcel box for perishable goods.
- Cloud-based surveillance: Optional 24/7 cloud-based video surveillance ensures that the correct delivery service is dropping off the package and that the intended recipient receives the box.
Install Additional Security Cameras
The mere presence of security cameras is often enough to deter criminals. By placing the cameras in highly-visible locations, they can be immediately identified by any would-be thieves and effectively act as a theft-deterrent.
While the Parcel Pending parcel box contains video surveillance technology, it is best to install a few extra cameras around the premises and in proximity to the lockers. That way, if anyone does attempt a theft, there is an increased likelihood that their face will be caught on camera, making it easier to get local law enforcement involved.
Ideally, a security camera should:
- Possess motion detectors, so that the security solution can alert building managers or security officers when movement is detected.
- Offer a “playback” feature, allowing community management or security teams to rewind and scroll recordings in case reviewing footage is necessary.
- Be placed at a high vantage point in a location that is both easily visible to possible thieves and difficult to reach without a ladder.
Be Familiar with Delivery People
No matter how advanced security products might get, it is helpful for residents to be familiar with or on good terms with their regular delivery people. This not only increases peace of mind for those who are regularly receiving packages at their doorstep, but if local delivery personnel notice any suspicious activity, they will feel more inclined to report it to residents, their courier network, or local law enforcement.
No matter who delivers the packages, Parcel Pending lockers are “courier agnostic.” This means that the parcel box will accept deliveries from all couriers (USPS, UPS, FedEx, Amazon, etc.), guaranteeing 100% deliverability for residents.
Post Security Company or Surveillance Signs
One of the best ways to deter criminals and ensure secure mail and package delivery is to ward off potential thieves before they have the chance to grab a box or take a peek in the mailbox. A highly visible camera system is one way of doing this. Another useful tactic is to post signs that indicate the premises are under surveillance with a security camera.
When purchasing signage – an inexpensive investment – be sure to:
- Install signs that don’t blend into the wall. Instead, consider using orange, yellow, or other brightly-colored signs that attract the eye.
- Place the signs high, in a place that can be easily seen, but not easily accessed.
Many security camera companies provide signs upon installation in a bid for free advertisement. Be sure to inquire about signs or stickers when purchasing.
Hire Community Security Guards
Many multifamily complexes or communities have compounded their security measures by hiring a security officer or security group to patrol the premises and provide another layer of protection for secure package delivery.
Security guards or security patrol groups provide a number of benefits, including:
- Scaring off criminals: Many criminals will not attempt theft if the risk of being caught is high. The mere presence of a security officer greatly decreases the chance that a package thief will attempt to steal a delivery by increasing the likelihood that this criminal will be caught in the act or apprehended before they can leave the property.
- Reassuring residents: The presence of a security officer or regular security patrol is comforting for residents, especially if they live in a neighborhood with a reputation for crime. A security officer can be another familiar, helpful face that they can rely on in case they notice suspicious activity around the property or in the neighborhood.
- Providing another set of eyes: Parcel Pending lockers are designed with a built-in camera, but it doesn’t hurt to have another set of eyes patrolling the premises. If the security patrol spots suspicious people lurking around the building, they can preemptively take action and contact the authorities.
Unite the Community
When a community is close-knit, the presence of a stranger is more likely to raise alarm. The more connected residents feel to each other, the more likely they will feel responsible for each others’ safety. They will also be able to better identify suspicious people in or around the property.
However, many families have few opportunities to interact because of work or school schedules. There are several ways to bring community members together:
- Organize a neighborhood watch: Neighborhood watch groups empower residents to become active in the fight against crimes like package theft. Each watch group is tailored to meet the needs of the community it serves, with watch group meetings providing an excellent forum for getting to know new and existing members of the community.
- Host a block party: Block parties are memorable, one-off events that work to immediately bring a community together. They provide an easy way to catch up on each others’ lives, and meet neighbors that one might not otherwise encounter.
- Schedule regular “town hall” meetings: Town hall meetings are a great way to get community members together on a regular basis. They also provide a forum for the community to discuss issues like package theft and methods for addressing it – such as a secure delivery box or parcel lockers.
Keep Community Spaces Clean
Parcel theft is more likely to occur if the targeted area looks unkempt or neglected. If a residence is well-maintained, it sends a clear message to criminals: residents care about their property, and are more likely to be on the lookout for suspicious activity.
In much the same way that holding mail and deliveries while a resident is out of town discourages burglars from breaking into houses, regularly cleaning the common areas — cutting the grass, picking up trash, buffing out graffiti, washing windows — greatly diminishes the likelihood that thieves will target a property.
Secure Package Delivery for the Community
There are many ways that homebuilders or community managers can decrease the chance of parcel theft, as well as reduce the chance that a residential community will be targeted by criminals. However, the most effective means of preventing parcel theft is by storing multiple packages in Parcel Pending lockers, keeping them safe and secure until residents are able to retrieve them.
With Parcel Pending lockers, package retrieval is secure, convenient, and contact-free. Lockers also help reduce operational costs in a housing community, while providing smart solutions like refrigerated lockers to make package delivery more dynamic than ever before. Relieve the community’s worries about package theft with safe, secure, package delivery via Parcel Pending smart lockers.
Adding new amenities may not be at the top of most properties’ to-do list right now. But if you do need help with package management, Parcel Pending is available to help. Reach out to a member of Parcel Pending’s team to find a solution that fits a range of properties’ unique needs and budget.
- Hu, Winnie & Haag, Matthew. New York Times. (2019, December 3). 90,000 Packages Disappear Daily in N.Y.C. Is Help on the Way?.
- San Jose Police Department. (n.d.). San Jose Police Department. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from http://www.sjpd.org/bfo/community/crimeprev/preventiontips/prevent_burglary.html
- Theft Prevention Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved April 7, 2019, from https://www.preventpackagetheft.com/theft-prevention-guide
- Weise, E. (2018, December 14). Were your Amazon packages stolen? Porch Pirates run rampant this holiday season. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2018/12/14/porch-pirates-package-theft-climb-more-americans-shop-online/2218910002