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Package and mail theft is a terrible thing. Many Canadians living have dealt with some degree of mail theft over the past few years. Talk to friends and family and many well tell you a sad tale of mailboxes being broken into, doors ripped off their hinges and more.  There are ways to combat this problem and Geek Squad can suggest those that are the best for your home. 

Face It. Package Theft Sucks

With the holidays approaching, you’re probably thinking about kickstarting your online shopping habits (if you aren’t already shopping online regularly like many Canadians including myself) and worried about all of your packages making it into your home safely. Generally, you’ll get a delivery notice and will have to go pick up your package from your courier or nearest post office. However, many packages still get delivered at people’s front door and if those packages won’t fit in the mailbox, they will simply be placed outside until you get home. That leaves whatever you bought at risk of becoming damaged from weather or animals, and susceptible to theft.

mail-theftPeople who are shopping online for gifts this season, may also be tempted to Google creative solutions to the theft problem: and there certainly are some creative and amusing suggestions online. For example, I saw a prank video where a guy booby trapped a fake package and blew garbage in the thief’s car. That approach may cause more harm than good.

For the rest of us looking to take the higher (and less questionable) road, you can combat package theft with smart home products. The August company recently did a survey in the U.S. on the topic of package theft using some of their solutions and concluded with some fairly interesting results about how their surveyees would implement this technology to their advantage. The study itself can be accessed on August’s website. Here is a snapshot, however, on their conclusions about package theft in general.

  • 74% of packages are stolen during the day
  • 81% of people surveyed had a package stolen during the holidays
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A Package Theft occurs at a Home during the 2014 Holiday Season

The annoyance of package theft can be a hassle on your work-life balance too. Imagine having to take time off work just to meet the mailman. This isn’t even a reality for folks who work in retail or support operations for electronic or brick and mortar locations. Really, how crazy is the idea that you have to waste your hard earned vacation time making sure that expensive delivery actually makes it safely inside your house?

Here are a few ways that you can save your vacation time, not rush home and not have grandma to your house to sit and wait for a delivery.

Creating a Smart Entry System

A smart and functioning home automation ecosystem at trustworthy entry points may be a great way for you to combat package theft. With a motion sensing doorbell camera, for example, you can easily receive a notification on your phone as soon as someone approaches your front door or porch to your home. The camera will contact you, and you can talk to whoever is waiting at the door. All doorbell cams also allow two-way communication so you can speak with the delivery person to decide next steps for drop off. For example, you could tell the delivery person where they can leave the package so it is out of sight.

If you read the study above, a high percentage of respondents admitted that with the right technology and backups (like security cameras,) they would often simply grant temporary access to delivery people to leave the package inside their entryway. That’s the solution we’ll explore here.

Do I open the door or open the garage?

The next step would be determining where you’d want the package to be left. Both your front entryway or garage are viable options but it all depends on where you feel comfortable. If you live in a colder climate and your delivery may be temperature sensitive, it’s a better idea to let the package get delivered inside. However, if you want to pilot this idea for fear of theft or you just don’t feel comfortable letting somebody inside your home without your being there, the garage might be another option.

myqRemote access to your garage is still a fairly limited market. Right now, Chamberlain’s MyQ is the only game in town, so to speak. The MyQ is a small square shaped sensor that connects to your modern (built within the last 20-25 years) automatic garage door opener and syncs up with your home’s Wi-Fi network to allow you to open and close the door with your smartphone. The MyQ app also gives you up to the minute information about what time your doors open and close as well as tell you right on screen when the door is in motion. The sensor has a built-in chime and warning light that activate as you are closing the door to give anybody inside a few seconds to get clear before the door closes.

Allowing access into your home has many more options than the garage. There are plenty of entry products out there, ranging from those that are complete deadbolt system replacements like the Weiser Kevo (but only with additional hardware) to those that work with your existing key sets but provide smart mechanisms on the inside (like Ok-I-Dokeys or August.) All of these devices allow you to operate your phone in place of a key and will let you unlock your door for an attending guest.

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The August Lock Doorbell Cam and Smart Lock working together to allow a delivery to be dropped inside the front door

Using something like this in conjunction with the right security cameras and communication methods, you could be at work, and still talk to the delivery person, unlock the front door, see the delivery get placed inside the door, lock the door and watch the delivery person leave. Your delivery could be left just inside your front door safely and securely. Your package is then safe from the elements and from theft.

mailtheftAt the end of the day, be sure that whichever option you choose is safe for both your packages and your peace of mind. Make sure that you have good communicators and good recording methods in place. A single device may not be the solution for your home.

If you are not at all sure about what to purchase, where to add it and/or how to do it, give Geek Squad a shout. Remember, you can get a free in-home smart home consultation to help you decide what to buy, and where to put it. If you want, Geek Squad can even do the installation work for you.

This way, mail thieves won’t be making your life miserable by stealing your packages and you can online shop without any worry about packages getting delivered while you are not home.

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