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Technology helping to deter holiday package thieves

Posted at 5:14 AM, Nov 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-14 18:43:58-05

Thieves are ready to take advantage of online shoppers this holiday season and the U.S. Postal Service will deliver millions of packages between now and New Years. 

Technology is trying to stay a step-ahead of so-called porch pirates. 

Many are installing video doorbells like the Ring, Nest or other home surveillance systems.

According to Ring, a video doorbell not only helps catch criminals but it also deters crime. 

“It’s common for burglars to knock or ring the doorbell to make sure nobody's home before breaking in,” a spokesperson said. “With Ring, homeowners can give the illusion they’re home, even when they’re not.”

In 2016, the Ring partnered with Los Angeles Police Department and installed Ring Video Doorbells on 10 percent of homes in Wilshire Park, California. The company says there was a 55 percent decrease in break-ins within the first six months of the doorbells being installed. 

The Ring is also helping non-video doorbell users with a new feature on their app. Users are alerted in real-time of any suspicious events or potential dangers in their community.

“If a neighbor records a crime or suspicious activity on their Ring device, they can simply share the video in Neighborhoods (app) and provide a brief description,” the spokesperson said. 

There are other ways to protect deliveries, too. Elizabeth Davis with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service released the following tips:

  • Track it – When you order something, use the tracking number to anticipate when your package will be delivered, and plan accordingly. 
  • Reduce time packages sit on porches or in mailboxes – Don’t leave packages unattended.  Ask a neighbor or a family member who is home during the day to get your packages and mail and hold them until you arrive home. 
  • Request signature services – Several Postal Service products offer tracking and signature options which can improve the security of your item.  Some expedited service products also offer time-certain delivery options that allow you to better manage the receipt of your important packages. 
  • Ship it to work – If your employer approves, you can have your package shipped to you at work. 
  • Get it redelivered, or hold for pickup – You can call or go online and ask the Post Office to redeliver your package, or have them hold it for you at the Post Office.  Have your Post Office hold your mail while you are away on vacation.