November 4, 2022

How to make your apartment block safer with secure mail and parcel management.

One aspect of an apartment building which is often overlooked when it comes to building security is post and parcel management.

For mail, home delivery tends to be the default, but due to convenience, and more time spent at home more residents are choosing home delivery for their parcels.

However, many apartment buildings do not have proper processes in place for couriers or internal staff to manage the volume of mail and parcels that are being delivered.

For a courier, it is relatively easy to deliver to a single household, but for housing developments with multiple units, such as apartment blocks, the process can become fraught with difficulty. Since every development is different in terms of layout, infrastructure, and internal process, it can be difficult for delivery drivers to know exactly where to deliver, and how.

When it comes to apartment blocks, many couriers arrive, drop off all the mail and parcels and leave which can cause a number of security issues. Unfortunately, the consequences to a lack of a secure process for mail and parcels are felt by both residents and staff.

Theft of mail and parcels

Royal Mail delivered around 8 billion letters last year, some of which contain confidential information that can be extremely risky if it gets into the hands of criminals.

Mail containing documents with personal and financial information is particularly valuable to criminals and those containing debit and credit cards can be used to commit identity theft, fraudulently purchase goods or withdraw cash.

Even mail containing seemingly harmless information can be a treasure trove for scammers to exploit. For instance, phone scammers who impersonate banks are able to make their calls more convincing by using information stolen from everyday mail.

And it’s not just mail. Parcels are becoming the primary target for porch pirates (people who steal parcels from outside residents’ homes).

Research from comparethemarket.com discovered that 12.2 million Brits have experienced parcel theft. Our recent Freedom of information request to police forces across the UK shows the number of reported incidents have risen by almost 300% in the last three years.

On average in the UK, each person receives approximately 74 parcels per person, per year. With figures that high, it’s no wonder that apartment buildings have become a target for parcel theft.

Some theft is opportunistic – passers-by gain access to blocks of flats to steal mail and parcels which are often placed in communal lobby areas or on doorsteps – but more organised criminals will follow couriers to steal deliveries, or even impersonate recipients.

Parcel rooms are a popular option within an apartment building however they do not offer individual package storage compartments. All parcels are stored in the same space, which allows any residents or couriers access to all parcels. This could create a security risk, both in terms of parcel theft and access to sensitive or personal data.

This is why it is imperative for residential developments to ensure there are solutions which enable all mail and parcels to be delivered securely and cannot be accessed by anyone but the intended recipient.

With Parcel Pending by Quadient residential lockers, a parcel can only be accessed by the resident, who is sent a code to open the locker. For mail, Quadient Mailboxes can include anti-theft features to ensure that once mail is delivered to the mailbox, it can only be accessed by the resident.

 Restricting access to third-parties

When it comes to designing a secure building or creating a risk assessment of an existing one, the greater the number of third parties who can access the building, the greater the risk (of security, health and safety, and fire hazard). This counts for all third parties, including couriers, service people and visitors.

Although most apartment buildings these days include access control technology or a secure locking system, It can be quite common for people living in blocks of flats to ‘buzz’ people into the building when they don’t actually know who the visitor is there for. However, to avoid criminals taking advantage by posing as couriers to gain access, ensure all mail and parcels are delivered to one secure location so that residents no longer need to ‘buzz’ couriers in.

Health and safety hazard

One major problem with a residential building having a lack of parcel and mail management is the health and safety risk it bears. Anything left lying around is a health and safety hazard, especially if left near an entrance or fire escape route – which a communal lobby area usually is. Mail, usually made of paper, can act as fuel to fire. Packages can also act as fuel, but also may physically block or cause obstruction to a vital exit route.

A secure parcel locker and mailbox will solve the problem of mail and parcels building up in lobby areas, fire exit routes or other areas through which residents need access.

Quadient Mailboxes and Parcel Pending residential lockers also have additional protection since each locker is a self-contained steel compartment.

Time spent managing parcels takes away Property Managers from face-to-face duties

Ideally, all parcels are rapidly and efficiently delivered and distributed. That way residents can continue unimpeded by awaited items and Property management doesn’t spend a disproportionate amount of time managing deliveries.

The reality can be somewhat different. Parcels can pile up in post rooms and reception areas. Employees can be hard to track down. Security of items can be an issue. Time is wasted attempting deliveries and items may be mislaid.

The more time staff spend managing parcels, the less time they have to tackle other tasks; managing facilities requests, responding to residents’ feedback or hosting front-of-house, for example.

The solution

For inbound mail, Quadient Mailboxes can be fitted outside, through the door or wall, or within a lobby area so couriers do not need to visit each individual apartment door. For parcels, a secure residential parcel locker is key to supporting building security by solving the problem of packages building up in lobbies and reception areas, as well as the problem of them going missing. Couriers instead are directed to the mailbox and parcel lockers where mail and parcels for all residents within that building can be delivered in one go. This limits the time the courier needs to spend in the building, keeps all mail and parcels completely hidden from view and ensures that the items are held securely until the recipient is ready to collect.