by RALPH GOODMAN
There are many security options available for protecting packages, but not every one of them will work for you. Each has trade-offs, whether it in terms of security, convenience, or even cost. To find your best option for secure package drop-off, be sure you know the potential issues and selling points of these package theft solutions.
Parcel Drop Boxes
The most universally palatable option for secure package drop off is a parcel drop box or parcel box. These products work much like package drop off slots you may see at your local post office or book drop off slots you may find at your local library. A door is opened so your package can be placed in the lock box, and when the door is closed, the package drops into another compartment. Opening the door again will not expose the package stored inside the lockbox.
If you purchase your parcel box online, you will need some other way of protecting your parcel box from a porch pirate, as there will be nothing to protect this initial delivery. Similarly, once the drop box is installed, you will be preventing an average grab and dash, but more serious criminals may attack the parcel box itself. Make sure that your parcel drop box uses solid metal construction and secure locks.
If you are using a secure drop box, the final thing you need to worry about is whether or not the delivery person will use it properly or at all. The best way to prevent confusion is to use something with an intuitive design that is very obvious. A great example of a product that meets this description is the Elephantrunk™ Parcel Drop Box. Still, you will have to consider the dangers of misuse and negligence on the part of the delivery person.
- Prevent simple grab and dash thefts.
- More convenient than PO boxes.
- Universal use as compared to Amazon Lockers, which must be sold or fulfilled by Amazon.
- Provides criminals no indication of the presence of a package.
- The parcel box can still vulnerable to thieves, so it will need to resist prying, cutting, lock picking, lock drilling, etc.
- An absent-minded delivery person can overlook or ignore the drop box link this delivery person in the video below who didn't seem to notice the customer's Elephantrunk:
A smart lock is an electronic door lock that communicates with other Bluetooth or WiFi-enabled devices, and they can be used in several ways to prevent package theft. Firstly you can use the Amazon Key service to have delivery personnel come into your home and leave your package inside. This gives you maximum convenience and you will have the full security of your home to protect your package. Someone must be willing to commit a burglary and enter the home, as well as suspect there is a package inside in order to target you.
In terms of using Amazon Key specifically, you are still not solving the issue of how non-Amazon packages will be securely delivered. Also, you will need more than a smart lock because Amazon requires you to purchase a security camera. Still, there are more ways to use smart locks to protect packages including smart padlocks such as BoxLock™. These types of devices can be left locked, and will only open after the proper barcode for an anticipated package is scanned.
A smart padlock is a much better standard padlock, which you will have to leave unlocked until the delivery person leaves the package. With a smart padlock, you can receive multiple packages on the same day, and the locked status of your padlock will not give away that something is inside. Smart padlocks and smart door locks require more knowledge on the part of the delivery person, and any hiccup in the functionality of these products will lead to them to go unused.
- Offers the potential for greater security.
- Provides criminals no indication that a package has been dropped off.
- WiFi features allow you to monitor deliveries in real time.
- Greater convenience than a PO box.
- More complex to understand and use for delivery people, then other options.
- Locks may be ignored by an absent-minded delivery person.
- Gives delivery personnel more access to your property.
Non-Residential Drop-Off Points
There are several services and locations that will allow packages to be dropped off securely. Because your parcels will not be sent to your home, you will have to stop by the separate physical location you are renting after a package arrives. You will also be paying continuously every month or on some other regular schedule.
With a Post Office Box (or PO Box) anything that you get delivered to your home can be delivered to this location. If the package you receive is too large for your PO box, the package will be kept in a different secure location. If you use something like an Amazon Locker, only deliveries fulfilled by Amazon or products sold by Amazon will be delivered to these lockers.
- There will be a company responsible for watching over and protecting delivered packages.
- No option for crimes of opportunity, such as snatch and grab thefts.
- There is no indication that a package has been delivered.
- This option may restrict which packages can be stored securely.
- Continuous payments are required as long as you would like this type of security.
- Packages will not arrive at your home.
You can use other forms of security such as surveillance to monitor your home deliveries, but security cameras will not stop package thieves. The most they will do is offer documentation of a crime, but you will still have to catch the porch pirates before they get away in order to prosecute them. Prevention is always better than documentation if you want to protect your packages from thieves. Don’t leave your deliveries vulnerable, and choose the best package drop-off solution for your needs.
Ralph Goodman is a security expert and lead writer for the Lock Blog, the #1 locksmith blog on the Internet. The Lock Blog is a great resource to learn about locks, safety, and security. They offer tips, advice and how-to’s for consumers, homeowners, locksmiths, and security professionals. Ralph has been featured widely throughout the web on sites such as Business Insider, Zillow, Bluetooth, Apartments.com, CIO, and Safewise.