The convenience of shopping online is often coupled with concerns about package theft, particularly during the holiday season.
"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 without actually being home. 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.
Outdoor security cameras
A traditional power-adapter-tethered security camera like thecan go a long way to help you monitor what's happening in your front yard. Pull up a live video feed in crisp 1080p high-definition anywhere your phone is connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network, and you'll receive motion alerts when activity is detected. Speak with visitors via the camera's built-in microphone and speaker. Ask a delivery person to hide packages behind a column or inside your screened-in porch. And in the worst-case scenario, tell someone lurking around your deliveries that you're calling the police.
Connected buzzers work in much the same way as traditional security cameras. The hardwiredhas high-definition resolution, a live video feed, motion alerts and more. Subscribe to the Nest Aware cloud service for access to facial recognition. Create a database of familiar faces and receive custom alerts when "Kevin," "Ashlee" or any other frequent visitor shows up. You can also look back at your video footage with Nest Aware to help neighbors and law enforcement (if necessary) identify who's snagging holiday deliveries.
Light and security camera hybrids
Integrated porch light-security cameras are an emerging smart home security category. The Ring Spotlight Cam (pictured), theand the 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.
Battery-powered security cameras
For a less permanent option, consider a battery-powered security camera. Models like the weatherproofcan withstand the elements (like the Nest Cam 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 another day. Like the SkyBell HD, Netgear's indoor/outdoor Arlo cameras offer free 7-day event-based cloud storage. And when its battery is low, just recharge it with Netgear's included charger.
Package deliveries inside your home
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 delivers Amazon 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 indoor security camera and one Amazon-approved third-party smart lock from either Kwikset or Yale. With this kit, you can receive alerts when a courier arrives and watch them deliver the package inside your home.
Amazon isn't the first company to offer this type of service. Smart lock maker August, which was August Access. Walmart also claims to be working on an ., offers an in-home delivery service called
Smart package storage
In addition to outdoor cameras and in-home delivery services, select companies offer smart storage options for your packages. One such company is MailHaven. MailHaven sells locking mailboxes with smart sensors that let you know when your packages are delivered through a related app. We haven't tested it out yet, but it looks much larger than a standard mailbox and should be able to hold some larger packages (as well as regular mail).
Amazon also offers a Locker program in select areas that appears to work similarly to MailHaven. 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).
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