How to Improve Residential Security and Prevent Package Theft
5 Min Read
Written by: pdm
Is installing CCTV and other security solutions or hiring extra staff to manage parcels enough to stop parcel thieves? Jon Hammond, our Head of Real Estate for Parcel Locker Solutions thinks there is a better way.
With online delivery acting as a lifeline for many during periods of lockdown and isolation, in 2020 more people were getting items delivered than ever before. Despite more people being at home, social distancing rules and the requirement for zero-contact deliveries means fewer parcels are ending up in the hands of residents. Even now, in 2022, home delivery is a
It is not unusual for delivery drivers to leave a parcel in an alternative place if they attempt delivery while a resident is not in. But many ‘safe places’ aren’t as secure as residents would hope; common places such as behind a wheelie bin, on a doorstep, behind a reception desk or in a communal lobby area, can often draw the attention of ‘porch pirates’ or ‘box bandits’ – people who steal parcels and packages that are intended for someone else.
Whether you live in a gated community or in an apartment building, deliveries sent to a residential property have a chance of either getting lost or stolen. So what type of residential security can you put in place to prevent package theft? Keep reading to learn all about it.
The Case of Parcel Loss
In 2019, before COVID caused package deliveries to balloon, Royal Mail spent almost £10 million on customer compensation, over half of which was due to parcel loss. It’s safe to expect compensation reports for 2020 to be higher. As delivery volumes increase, unfortunately so does the number of lost or stolen parcels. For some organised burglars and opportunist criminals, the lure of a parcel left outside someone’s door is the equivalent of waving a red flag in front of a bull. The thefts of parcels and packages in the UK have actually increased by 22% between 2016-2019, according to Police records. And this figure could be much higher since not all parcel thefts are reported or recorded.
According to research by Citizens Advice, almost 7 in 10 consumers have experienced a problem with parcel delivery in the past year. Issues include parcels that arrive late, are left in an unsafe place or are delivered to the incorrect address completely. 34% of consumers with a parcel delivery problem feel stress, anger, or annoyance as a result. While package theft is a major nuisance, it also has financial repercussions for the consumer.
Package Management for a Residential Property
Package theft is one story for a homeowner. But if you live in a managed building, it’s no doubt that having a package management process is important beyond having a security system. For managed properties such as BTR and multi-tenant buildings, resident satisfaction is key to their success. Fulfilling the delivery of a parcel is a basic expectation from a resident. When a building does not have the correct processes or infrastructure to support this, it can weigh negatively on a resident’s experience.
For many BTR developments, the onus is on building management to receive, store and sometimes even distribute parcels for residents. But even if building management is responsible for package distribution, items can still be lost or stolen, because there’s an extra step, or more, between the delivering carrier and the recipient. The more steps there are between an item leaving a retailer and arriving in the hands of the intended recipient, the more opportunities there are for problems to arise.
On the other hand, it is not ideal to allow couriers to freely roam the building and deliver door-to-door since any external visitors can be perceived as a risk to the safety of the residents and the building. There could be hundreds of apartments within each building, and couriers from multiple different companies all wandering around the building attempting to deliver to each resident’s door.
Can a security system prevent the potential threat of parcel loss?
Some believe that upping security needs and installing surveillance cameras can prevent parcel theft. However, even with a surveillance camera or video doorbell, a recently delivered package in plain sight is an easy target for porch pirating. Installing these methods can help to deter thieves, but they do not provide physical protection of the parcel and it is still easy for people to mask their identity and commit theft. Ultimately, any time a pile of packages is left unattended in an accessible place there is the possibility of pilfering; by property employees, other residents, or opportunistic thieves. Therefore, the only safe space for any carrier to deliver into, that is not directly into the hands of the resident, is a secure place which once delivered, makes the parcel inaccessible to anyone other than the intended recipient. One solution for tackling the security issue? Residential or apartment package lockers.
How Can Parcel Lockers Help?
Unlike surveillance cameras and other security solutions, smart building technology, like a parcel locker, provides physical protection and security for packages, not just a deterrent that may or may not be effective. Parcel lockers that provide mailbox security in residential communities also provide residents with 24/7 access to packages where they live, so residents don’t have to go offsite or rearrange their schedules to wait for a courier.
Parcel Lockers from Quadient
The way Quadient parcel lockers work is simple. Recipients are instantly notified by text, email, or app notification when they have a delivery. Once the notification is received, the recipient can pick up the package using the unique code provided in the notification, or by using our mobile app. Property managers do not need to sign for, sort, or distribute packages to residents. Instead, our electronic locker solutions provide a secure, fast, and easy way for residents to retrieve their own packages at their convenience.
In the immediate future property managers should expect to manage significantly more packages as residents continue to opt to avoid stores and shop online. It is important when designing a new, or upgrading an existing BTR property, to factor in parcel management.