With online shopping and holiday gift deliveries ramping up, package theft becomes a bigger concern.
"It's a quick theft," Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Genae Cook told CBS affiliate WTTV. "[What] you'll notice is cars going back and forth up and down the street, so it's a good time for your neighbors to be diligent watching out for strangers in the neighborhood."
Fortunately, the proliferation of smart home devices means you can now monitor deliveries from your phone. Read on to find out what products and services will help you keep a virtual "eye" on your holiday packages, no matter where you are.
Connected buzzers work in much the same way as traditional security cameras. The hardwired Arlo Video Doorbell has high-definition resolution, a live video feed, motion alerts and more. Subscribe to the Arlo Smart cloud service for access to advanced motion alerts that differentiate between people, animals, cars and packages. You can also look back at your video footage with Arlo Smart to help neighbors and law enforcement (if necessary) identify who snagged your holiday deliveries.
The Arlo Video Doorbell is our current top pick in the category.
For a less permanent option, consider a battery-powered security camera. Models like the weatherproof Arlo Pro 3 can withstand the elements (like the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor), but they are much more mobile. Use one inside to keep an eye on your pet one day and move it outside when you're expecting a package delivery the next. And when its battery is low, just recharge it with Arlo's included charger.
The Arlo Pro 3 is our current top pick in this category.
Integrated porch light-security cameras are an emerging smart home security category. The Ring Spotlight Cam (pictured), the Netatmo Outdoor Security Camera and the Ring Floodlight Cam all combine smart lighting with smart video monitoring. With each of these devices, you can watch a live video feed, receive motion alerts and talk to people via two-way audio intercoms. But you can also program the lights to turn on and off at set times.
The Spotlight Cam even has a 110-decibel siren, so you can scare someone away when needed. Read the CNET review.
Amazon Prime members have another option to keep an eye on their packages. Instead of monitoring traditional outdoor deliveries with outdoor cameras, the Amazon Key service allows Amazon to deliver packages inside your home. This service is available in select areas in the US. Check this list of cities to see if the Key service is available where you live. The Amazon Key In-Home Kit is required to enable the Key service. It includes one Key-enabled Amazon Cloud Cam indoor security camera and one Amazon-approved third-party smart lock. With this kit, you can receive alerts when a courier arrives and watch them deliver the package inside your home. Read more from CNET.
In addition to outdoor cameras and in-home delivery services, select companies offer smart locks and storage options for your packages. One such company is BoxLock. Its product, also called BoxLock, is a smart padlock that works with a related BoxLock app.
Here's how it's supposed to work: A BoxLock delivery partner uses the lock to scan the package barcode. The lock unlocks and they secure your delivery inside a storage container (sold separately) until you can get home and retrieve your package. UPS, FedEx, Amazon Prime and USPS are BoxLock partners.
Amazon also offers a Locker program in select areas. Of course, you have to travel to an Amazon Locker location, but these kiosks let you pick up Amazon packages on your own schedule with a six-digit code (rather than worrying about something sitting on your front porch). Read more from CNET.
If none of the above tech options appeal to you, don't fret. You can require a signature for your delivery so packages aren't ever left outside when no one's home. You can also have your packages shipped to your office, or somewhere else where you're guaranteed to be during the day.
Originally published two years ago. Updated with new recommendations.