We celebrate a lot of special days in the U.S., some downright silly: National Pickle Day on November 14, National Deviled Egg Day on November 2, and National Coffee Day on September 29. While these can be fun, now we also mark a day to bring awareness to something more serious. National Package Protection Day (NPPD) is dedicated to stopping thieves who prey on holiday deliveries. This year NPPD falls on November 29, the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, when lots of holiday packages start to arrive with thieves ready to turn out in droves.
Why a Day to Protect Packages?
Black Friday and Cyber Monday generate a huge spike in shipments each year, and in 2016, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) expected to deliver an estimated 750 million packages. United Parcel Service (UPS) estimated a similar number of shipments.
Adobe Digital Insights (ADI) documented that 2016’s Holiday season accounted for more than $90 billion in online sales, and ADI predicts sales for this season to be even higher. This massive number of boxes will be exiting warehouses soon and unfortunately, an astounding amount of purchases will never arrive at their intended destination.
Package thieves stole an estimated 23 million deliveries in recent years. That’s the finding of a 2015 study conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International on behalf of insurancequotes.com. There have been numerous reports, from Las Vegas to Mount Ephraim, N.J., of porch pirates following right behind delivery vehicles. After the drop, a passenger in the trailing car brazenly snatches the package.
Video doorbells can capture the thieves in action and may even lead to arrests like one in Omaha, Neb. last year. At least five armed robberies took place in Chicago with crooks stealing packages and even entire trucks from UPS and FedEx during the 2016 holiday season.
The need for increased awareness and proactive measures is clear. That’s where NPPD comes in with more options you can use to make sure thieves don’t succeed. While most of the stolen packages are ones left on porches, thieves also target unlocked mailboxes and unsecured apartment lobbies.
What can you do?
Besides neighbors keeping an eye on each other’s homes, there are a number of ways you can help prevent package theft:
- If you know a package is coming, ask a neighbor to grab deliveries if you’re at work or away.
- Ship items to your work address.
- Use FedEx or UPS delivery options. For instance, you can request your package arrives at the nearby carrier’s hub where you can pick it up at your convenience. UPS Hold for Pickup will hold your package for five days for no additional charge. To hold at a FedEx, you can select delivery to any one of 1,800+ nationwide locations.
- Send smaller packages from Amazon to the closest Amazon Locker. You’ll receive an emailed code once your delivery arrives. Most lockers are accessible 24 hours a day.
- For pricey shipments, request a signature upon delivery. If you’re not home, the delivery service will make a second trip. You can also alter delivery terms and direct the shipper to a neighbor.
- Sign up for a delivery tracking service. You can see packages and letters en route and their estimated arrival dates.
- Hold all mail if you’re on vacation.
- Consider a Package Guard. This Frisbee-sized device lets delivery companies place the package on top of the pad. Then the smartphone-linked tool will alert you and others you include to an arrival. If the package is removed, a 100-decibel alarm will sound.
- Add a video doorbell like those offered by Ring, the company that first launched NPPD. These video devices let you talk via your smartphone to the person leaving, or taking, a package—even if you’re miles away.
If we stay alert and take an active role in protecting our deliveries, this November and December we can thwart porch pirates and other package thieves!