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High-tech solutions to protect your packages from thieves

Posted at 6:30 AM, Dec 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-12 23:24:59-05

BALTIMORE — Online retailers have come up with new ways to protect your packages from thieves. From lockers to in-home deliveries, boxes no longer have to be left in the open.

Amazon Key
In 2017, Amazon, launched Key. Using an app, a smart lock, and a camera pointed at the door, customers can have their packages delivered inside their homes.

If that's a little too personal, in 2018, Amazon launched in-car delivery. However, the feature only works with supported car models 2015 or newer that have a car service plan that connects to the internet.

“If for some reason the package cannot fit in the trunk of your car, they will place it in the cabin of the car, but they will do everything they can to hide it the best that they can,” said Jenny Williams, an Amazon customer.

Amazon also offers lockers at different grocery and convenience stores even storage units.

And new this year, Amazon will now deliver in your garage.

“Once you've got the smart garage hub set-up or you've got your operator set-up with MyQ, you would just link it with Amazon Key's app,” said Tyler Lenczuk, director of delivery at Chamberlain Group, Inc., the maker of the smart garage door opener.

It'll work in a similar way to in-home and in-car deliveries. The customer receives a notification that the driver is arriving soon. When they get there, Amazon will authorize the delivery and open the door. The package is placed inside and your garage is closed.

“They won't go on to their next delivery until that step is complete,” said Lenczuk.

No codes are exchanged, Amazon manages access, and you can playback deliveries with the Amazon Cloud Cam, but the camera's not required like it is with in-home delivery.

“With the delivery drivers being able to go to the garage, the dogs don't see them, they don't hear them, the baby sleeps and everything's perfect,” said Mina Starsiak Hawk from HGTV’s “Good Bones.”

If your garage isn't already compatible, the smart garage hub is on sale for around $30 and works with garage openers made after 1993.

Setting delivery preferences
For shipments outside of Amazon, create an account with the different shipping carriers.

UPS MyChoice sends customer’s updates, drop-off times, and allows users to specify where you want your packages placed. And with UPS Access Point you can also opt to pick-up your packages at the UPS store or a partnering store.

The U.S. Postal Service offers Informed Delivery that provides a digital preview of mail arriving soon and package tracking information.

Also, lock boxes are a cheaper alternative to high-tech solutions.

Some other ideas include:

  • Making a pact with your neighbors to bring in packages that are outside
  • Have things shipped to your office
  • Check with locally-owned stores about having items delivered there

Cameras and smart doorbells are also a deterrent. If your things still get stolen, you have video to send to the police and the company for a replacement item.

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