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How Smart Parcel Lockers Boost Student Safety

Even students aren’t exempt from the rampant parcel theft plaguing US cities. The San Francisco area, for instance, gets a failing grade for being the number one city in America for porch pirates.1 As home to the University of California, Berkeley, University of California, San Francisco,  Stanford University, San Jose State University, plus another 35 colleges, this criminal behavior and potential campus safety issue can influence enrollment.

The statistics paint a clear picture of the problem:

  • More than 3 in 4 Americans have been a victim of package theft in their lifetime.
  • 79% of Americans have been a victim of package theft in the last 12 months (15 points higher than last year!).
  • Over half of porch pirate victims have had multiple packages stolen in the past 12 months.

Looking at college student safety and school safety studies, however, the data varies more. 81% of respondents living in university-owned residence halls at Temple University reported feeling safe in their area of residence.2 However, feelings of public safety vary by demographics and orientation, with LGBTQ+ and people of color generally feeling less safe.3 22% of women report feeling very safe as compared to 33% of men. Women even go so far as to factor in campus safety/school safety when choosing a college. Whereas 46% of all students side with the statement that police officers make them feel safe, only 37% of Black students agree.

Higher education institutions must take both sets of these public safety statistics into consideration when considering how to make students feel safer on campus. However, there are several broad stroke tactics that universities can take to improve student safety and personal safety among its campus community.

4 Tactics to Improve Student Safety

#1 Increase Security Presence

57% of students report they have never had an interaction with campus security. As cities across America have learned, police or security presence and lower crime rates are often related.

#2 Improve Lightning

Vital to making students feel safe is improving on-campus lighting, especially where there are darker pathways. Students rate more lighting on campus sidewalks as their second most requested area for improvement.

#3 Add Security Cameras

The correlation between personal safety/student safety and security cameras cannot be ignored. When Northeastern University and Cambridge University analyzed 40 years’ worth of data worldwide, it found that CCTV cameras reduced crime by 13%.4

#4 Install Smart Parcel Lockers

Parcel Pending by Quadient smart lockers can help reduce theft and increase security. Students receive a notification on their phone or via the app to retrieve their packages by scanning the barcode at the electronic locker kiosk. Steel lockers, a built-in photo capture system, plus the smart tech in the lockers and app make it virtually impossible to steal packages.

These smart locker systems track each delivery and pickup, providing clients with a full chain of custody and visibility for each package. Since Parcel Pending by Quadient’s locker system integrates effortlessly with its own Web Tracking System (WTS) or existing university mail tracking systems, there is complete visibility into where packages are at all times.

Of course, parcel lockers are also available “wrapped” in your school colors and logo, to aid with integrating them into your campus community.

The Campus Hub™: Security Beyond Parcels

Smart lockers can deliver an even greater ROI when viewed through the lens of a central distribution system for the transfer of enrollment documents, laptops, keys, parking passes, textbooks or library books, move-in materials, and more.

Since so many departments can leverage smart lockers (administration, bursar, student affairs, dorm rooms, and bookstores), universities are often able to pool different department resources for the investment. Further, lockers boost efficiency while decreasing staffing costs. In fact, switching to an intelligent university parcel system can boost productivity by as much as 30%!

Examples of how to use smart lockers include:

  • Bookstore Merchandise: Clothing, books, electronics, gifts and more can be retrieved with zero face-to-face interaction.
  • Electronics: Student laptops, tablets, and other school-owned devices can be disseminated.
  • Class Equipment: Classrooms can distribute equipment for course work and projects and students can easily and safely return the items.
  • On-Campus Dining: A student can simply place an order for a meal online via the university’s dining software and then pick-up their food and beverage items safely without encountering anyone.
  • Student Mail: Packages and regular USPS mail.
  • Move-in/Move-out Materials: Items such as keys, ID cards, welcome packets and other important school materials can be shared with students via smart lockers.
  • Event Tickets: Tickets for sporting events and other student activities can be distributed via smart lockers to minimize lines and contact ticket agents.

A History of Success on College Campuses

As the oldest university in the English-speaking world, University College Oxford installed 90 outdoor smart lockers for convenient student pickup. Not only was package retrieval available 24/7, but almost the entire problem of “stale packages” was eliminated as more than 90% of parcels were picked up within three days of delivery.

At Lehigh University, the key influencing factor in installing smart lockers was the visible chain of custody. And, at the University of Florida, lockers saved mailroom staff a startling 20 hours per week.

If you’re ready to improve student safety, contact a Parcel Pending by Quadient representative today!



  1. Edwards, Rebecca. Worst Metro Cities for Package Theft for 2022. www.safewise.com. December 18, 2022. https://www.safewise.com/blog/metro-areas-porch-theft/
  2. Ezarik, Melissa. Student Safety Wishes: Visible Security, Brighter Walkways, More Crime Prevention. www.insidehighered.com. June 28, 2022. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2022/06/29/top-campus-safety-and-security-investments-students-want
  3. Ezarik, Melissa. Students Feel Most Safe on College Campuses, but Not Equally So. www.insidehighered.com. June 21, 2022. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2022/06/22/survey-campuses-perceived-safe-some-students-not-all
  4. Chen, Brian X. Security Cameras Make Us Feel Safe, but Are They Worth the Invasion?. www.newyorktimes.com. November 2, 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/02/technology/personaltech/security-cameras-surveillance-privacy.html