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Consumers can utilize doorbell security cameras to help fend off porch pirates. But surveillance shouldn’t be your only security tactic to keep items safe during the holiday season, according to Matthew Stanton, general manager at global security firm GardaWorld.

A recent survey by market researcher C+R Research found that 90% of shoppers said they receive a package delivery at least once per month, while more than half said they get a package delivery every week.

A majority of Americans, 84%, plan to have at least one package delivered this holiday season, and 26% say they are already worried about package theft.

Stanton, who leads security for shopping centers and national retail chains in the Northeast, said there are many things holiday shoppers can do to help protect themselves against theft, including specifying in the online checkout process where they want the package delivered so that they can be better prepared for its arrival.

Specify delivery details

package at doorstep

Baltimore resident Rosemarie Dumhart uses a decoy package, marked with an X, to discourage so-called “porch pirates” operating in the Canton area of Baltimore, Maryland, Dec. 17, 2018. (Sebastien Duval/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)


With a lot of companies, shoppers can include delivery details when placing their order, according to Stanton. That could mean placing a package to the side of the door that’s directly in front of the camera, for example, or toward the back of the home or even behind a fence or bush, he said.

Sometimes companies will even allow people to give them access to their garage for package drop-offs. However, trusting a company to have access to areas that aren’t public can create issues, according to Stanton.

Amazon package delivered inside an apartment building

An Amazon package sits by mailboxes at an apartment building in Chicago on March 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar / AP Newsroom)


“The person delivering a package likely has good intentions and would not enter a garage area outside of the delivery,” he said. “However, opening doors can lead someone to accidentally leaving them open.”

Additionally, “it can also lead to privacy issues with delivery companies having confidential data or access to alarms,” he added. 

Doorbell cameras

amazon package

An Amazon Prime package is seen on a porch in this photo illustration on Amazon Prime Day, July 16, 2019, in Orlando, Florida. (Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images / Getty Images)


Having a doorbell camera is beneficial, but the drawback is that it only shows you what is directly in front of it. That said, Stanton suggested having a backup camera that someone could place at the corner of their home so that they could see someone walking up to their property and even a bit of the street itself.

Many doorbell companies also have a forum where users can post messages alerting the community about a particular incident that happened at their home. 

This increases awareness. However, posting certain messages about what homes have been targeted can also pose some risks.

“This is a double-edged sword. For the owner’s benefit, and the benefit of the community, keeping individuals informed allows for preparedness of the community, as well as for follow-up and documentation for law enforcement,” he said. “However, for the bad actor, they can also see what is going on in that community and react similarly by monitoring information and taking steps to carry out bad intentions.”

In theory, it can show a bad actor who has a video doorbell, if a person was identified during an incident, and areas where there are fewer events occurring, according to Stanton.


When to pick up in person

In some cases, Stanton said it’s better to skip the delivery altogether depending on the value of the product. If it is something that is very expensive, Stanton says it’s best to pick it up right from the store.

C+R Research also suggests that users can have an important package get delivered to their workplace or a relative’s home just to be safe. They can also sign up for delivery alerts and track the delivery process, according to the market research company.

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