Everyone loves coming home to discover a package on their front porch. Unfortunately, thieves also enjoy finding packages left on doorsteps, and lift thousands of them each year. Amazon, Walmart, UPS, and other retailers are working to curb these so-called “porch pirates”, and here are just a few of the methods being considered.
Rerouting Packages to more Secure Sites
Amazon now allows customers to have packages delivered to lock boxes located inside retail establishments such as grocery stores. This is an alternative for anyone who doesn’t mind going out in order to pick up their packages. Delivery services such as FedEx and UPS often allow consumers to reroute packages to more secure addresses such as their workplace or that of a friend or neighbor.
Allowing Remote Entry
The best way to prevent packages from being stolen off the porch is to not have them sitting there in the first place. Accordingly, Amazon is toying with the idea of placing merchandise inside a person’s car trunk. The consumer would utilize a special license place frame that holds a spare key and requires a smart phone app in order to access. This would in essence provide an Amazon delivery driver with one-time access to an individual’s vehicle.
Walmart is testing the same concept by asking for one-time access into a buyer’s residence. Delivery drivers would then be able to place a package just inside the door, leave, then relock it. If the idea catches on, one day delivery personnel might even be able to place perishable items inside the refrigerator to keep them from spoiling.
Real-Time Delivery Photographs
Let’s face it-not everyone is keen on the idea of allowing delivery drivers into their home or vehicle. For those who would rather not grant access, receiving real-time delivery photographs might be a better option. Downloading an app will enable you to receive a photograph of your package sitting on your doorstep. This provides an alert so that you can secure your package as quickly as possible. It can also help you find your package if it is not left quite where you thought it should be.
Unmarked Delivery Vehicles
Many “porch pirates” score big hauls simply by following UPS or FedEx delivery trucks. This enables them to see exactly where packages are dropped. Recognizing this, many Amazon deliveries are now made using unmarked vehicles. This makes it more difficult for thieves to target certain homes. Of course, drivers will still need to wear company uniforms and have the appropriate identification to keep from scaring those who are home when their packages arrive.
Keeping porch pirates at bay is probably the single biggest thing online retailers can do to provide consumers with peace of mind. Some estimates claim that as many as 31% of all Americans have experienced a porch theft. With these and other initiatives, Amazon, Walmart, and other retailers hope that someday that number will be much lower. Which of these methods would you be willing to use in order to prevent stolen packages?