Several million Canadians discovered the myriad benefits of online shopping for the first time during the pandemic, with online sales jumping severalfold since early 2020, according to StatsCan and several private companies, like PayPal.
After all, you can shop 24/7 in the comfort of your pajamas; you don’t have to fight traffic to drive to the mall and circle the parking lot; it’s easy to compare prices between multiple online retailers; and products are shipped right to your door.
But now that many are returning to an office for work, who will be at home to receive the packages?
As we head into the busy shopping season, the last thing you want is your gifts to be lifted from your doorstep by “porch pirates.”
There are a few things you can do to deter thieves. Here are three easy ideas (and my interview with Global News about it!):
In the era of online deliveries, perhaps your own lockable parcel box is what you need?
Consider the Danby Parcel Guard Basic Mailbox ($349.00), a simple lockbox that can fit parcels up to 15 x 10 x 8 inches, and features an anti-theft drop slot and keylock for you to open when you get home.
If desired, the mailbox could be bolted to the ground (fixings included), or weight can be added to the base of the unit (using sand or gravel).
If you want a high-tech mailbox, there’s also the Danby Parcel Guard Smart Mailbox (usually $549.00, but currently on sale for $399.00), a Wi-Fi-connected unit with motion sensor, camera, two-way voice communication, smart home device integration (Google and Alexa) and an alarm. Receive real-time notifications on your smartphone app when a courier is there.
To open the electronic lock to access parcels inside, use the keypad or the app. (Note: The Smart Mailbox requires a 120-volt power supply.)
Of course, these are ideal for regular mail, too, should you get letters delivered right to your home where you live.
While it can’t stop a thief from taking your stuff, video doorbells and other outdoor cameras could act as a deterrent — plus you’ll have clear evidence of any incident.
As you likely know, these solutions let you see who’s at your front door – whether you’re home or not – and talk with visitors via the integrated microphone and speaker. You’re immediately notified on your smartphone when it detects motion.
There are several video doorbells and outdoor cameras available on the market, but many require a monthly cloud subscription to look back at video from a previous hour, day or week (live chats with guests are free).
Instead, Markham, Ontario’s Lorex has a 2K Wi-Fi Video Doorbell ($189.99) that does not require ongoing costs because recordings are stored on the included 32GB MicroSD card, and the Lorex Home smartphone app (available for iOS and Android devices) lets you chat in real-time with visitors and review previously recorded videos. The wired doorbell offers colour night vision, a built-in nightlight, and the option to play prerecorded audio messages when someone rings the bell.
Lorex also offers the weatherproof Lorex 1080p Wi-Fi Floodlight Camera ($196.99), which houses two ultra-bright LED lights (to produce a total of 4,000 lumens), Full HD recording, a remotely triggered siren, two-way audio and infrared night vision.
Deliver to another location
Another idea is to have the packages delivered to a nearby post office. Canada Post offers a range of post office (P.O.) box sizes to hold your mail and packages safely at a nearby facility.
As outlined at the official Canada Post site for renting a box, the first step is to visit your nearest post office to rent a box. Search for your closest one based on your postal code. Once at a location, choose the size you want (usually five options) and your desired rental period.
Then sign the Postal Box rental agreement that details the terms and conditions. You will receive two keys for your box, and a key for the Postal Box lobby, if applicable.
Finally, one other option is if you work somewhere and your boss doesn’t mind, you might also direct online deliveries to your place of business if it’s during working hours.