8 Package Theft Prevention Tips For the Holidays — and Every Day
8 Package Theft Prevention Tips For the Holidays — and Every Day
Home Security

8 Package Theft Prevention Tips For the Holidays — and Every Day

By Ring on November 18, 2022

Twinkling lights, crisp weather, and decked-out houses aren’t the only signs that the holiday season is fast approaching. Take a look around your neighborhood — you’ll probably see a box (or five) stacked on at least a few front porches or in the mailroom.

‘Tis the season to shop for decorations, gifts, festive outfits, and wrapping paper — which means it’s also the season for package theft. But these package protection tips don’t just come in handy around the holidays; they’re helpful all year round.

In honor of Package Protection Day, we’re sharing the most helpful package theft prevention tips to help protect all your purchases, from a special gift for mom to your monthly order of skincare essentials.

Track Your Shipments and Sign Up for Alerts

When you finally hit that "checkout” button on a special purchase, you might refresh your phone every few hours in anticipation of its arrival. But if you’re a frequent online shopper with several subscriptions, you might not realize something was on the way until you see it on your porch — which means you also might not notice for several days if that package goes missing.

If you’re too busy (or have too much on the way) to check the arrival date of every package you ordered, you don’t have to — many online retailers and shipping companies offer text, email, or in-app alerts when a shipment is out for delivery or delivered.

Some companies, like Amazon, even let you track how close your driver is, so you can see when they turn down your street and grab your package as soon as it hits your porch.

Provide Delivery Instructions

If a porch pirate could spot even the smallest box on your porch from a busy street or sidewalk, you should take advantage of delivery instructions. During checkout, you can leave a note asking your delivery driver to put the package in front of your side door, hide it behind the large planter next to your walkway, or set it behind a column, so it stays out of sight until you can grab it.

Have Your Package Delivered To a Safe Place If You Won’t Be Home

When you’re putting in 10-hour days at the office or running errand after errand to prepare for holiday guests, you don’t have time to go home and grab every package. But the longer you’re gone, the more time others will have to spot the pile of boxes and envelopes on your doorstep. That’s why many online retailers give you the option to deliver your package to a secure location instead of your home.

Depending on where you shop, you may be able to choose one of these delivery options:

  • Amazon Locker or Counter: When you check out on Amazon, you can choose to have your package delivered to a nearby self-service Locker or a Counter with service staff. After delivery, you have three days to grab your package from a Locker and a whole week to pick it up from a Counter location.
  • Store pickup: Some retailers offer to ship it to a store, that way you can pick up your brand-new TV on the way home from work instead of letting it sit in plain sight on your porch.
  • A PO box: If you’re an avid online shopper who doesn’t order everything from the same place, you may not want to drive around to several stores and Locker locations to pick up packages. Instead, you can pay a monthly fee to open a PO Box and pick up all your shipments in one place at any time of the day.
  • A friend or family member’s house: If you need to keep the orders coming while you’re out of town, you can ask a local friend or family member if you can ship the packages to their house and pick them up once you’re back.
  • Your garage: If you’re an Amazon Prime member with a compatible smart garage control, you don’t need to send your package to a different location to keep it safe while you’re gone. You can select Amazon Key delivery during checkout, and your delivery driver will scan a barcode on your package and place it inside your garage after Amazon verifies their location.
  • Request a Signature on Delivery

    Keeping your packages safe is always a good idea, but some deliveries deserve some extra attention — like a custom-designed engagement ring. To make sure your priceless package ends up in your hands and no one else’s, you should see if there’s a “require signature upon delivery” option at checkout.


    Some carriers automatically require signatures upon delivery for high-value items. But if your package doesn’t meet their cost criteria, you may still be able to choose a shipping option that will require a signature.

    Keep in mind that if you aren’t home when your package arrives, you’ll have to wait for another delivery attempt, and many carriers will return your package to the sender if you miss several tries. If you know you will be away during the expected arrival time, see if you can reroute your package to a holding facility and pick it up later.

    Keep an Eye on Deliveries With Package Detection on Your Video Doorbell

    You finally get the notification that an important package arrived — seven hours before it was supposed to. You have to make it through a full day of work, school pickup, and a drive to soccer practice before you can get back home, leaving plenty of time for someone else to swipe the package from your porch.

    If you have a Ring Video Doorbell at home, you won’t have to wonder if your package is still there on the porch. Instead, you’ll get Motion Alerts if someone passes by, so you can check in via Live View on your app and use Two-Way Talk to let any potential package thieves know they’re on camera.

    With a Ring Protect subscription, you can also get a Package Alert as soon as your special delivery arrives. If someone sends a surprise gift or you don’t get a delivery notification from the package carrier, you’ll know when something is at the door.

    Ask Your Neighbors For Help

    Sometimes, no matter what you do, a package ends up getting delivered at the worst time when there is no way you can rush home or even check your video doorbell to see where things stand — that’s what neighbors are for.

    Ask Your Neighbors For Help

    If you have a few trusted neighborhood friends who are usually home at the time your package arrives, you can send a text to see if someone can bring it inside and hold onto it until you’re back. Make sure they know you’ll be happy to return the favor if they end up with a surprise package in the future.

    Your neighbors can also be a resource if your package theft prevention efforts don’t work. With the Neighbors App by Ring, you can share and view safety information from people around your area. If you see someone take off with your package or get footage on a security camera or video doorbell, you can make a post that automatically surfaces on neighbors’ feeds. Anyone with information can comment, and your post may be able to help local law enforcement officers to prevent further theft. 

    By sharing relevant information and staying up-to-date with posts on the Neighbors App, you and your community can stay ahead of package thieves — and create a safer community for everyone.

    Click to open Neighbors App in App Store. Click to open Neighbors App in Google Play Store.

    Get a Package Locker for Your Home

    You can’t beat the convenience of arriving home and grabbing your package off the porch as you head in the door. And if you’re looking for extra peace of mind that your big delivery is safe and sound, you can bring the feel and security of an Amazon Locker or PO Box to your home with a package drop box.

    These boxes come with a compartment or slot for delivery drivers to place packages in, and they’ll fall into a separate locked area that you can open with your phone or a key. Depending on the model you get, you may be able to bolt the box to your porch, see footage from a built-in security camera, or get alerts if someone tries to tamper with it.

    To make things easy for your delivery person when they arrive with your package, you can leave instructions for the package locker during checkout or hang a package delivery sign letting them know where to place the box or bag.

    Install a Motion-Activated Light

    Package theft is common year-round, but according to the City of Seattle and other cities across the country1, it often increases during the holiday season when the days are shorter and porches are piled high with holiday gifts and decorations. A dark porch can make it easy for someone to grab your packages and go without anyone noticing them — unless you have a motion-activated Spotlight or Floodlight near your front door. Your lights will automatically shine bright when they notice motion, which can be enough to ward off porch pirates before they even get close to your package.

    1 https://www.woodburymn.gov/544/Holiday-Package-Theft
    https://www.carlsbadca.gov/Home/Components/News/News/774/7032 https://www.cambridgema.gov/Departments/cambridgepolice/News/2020/11/beproactivepreventyourpackagesfrombeingstolenthisholidayseason

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