Author Topic: Ring doorbell and other products to deter package theft and increase security  (Read 6603 times)

jeromedawg

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Hey all,

So while away on vacation this past week, it looks like some jacka** stole a package off my porch that was delivered on Monday. Unfortunately, I was mostly out of cell range the entire time and couldn't have a friend check until Thursday, when he let me know there was no package there.

The entry way is relatively hidden and inconspicuous which is a double-edged sword - on one hand, most people wouldn't notice or bother with approaching the door since packages are typically out of sight when the mailman/delivery guy leaves them there. But on the other hand, if anyone is curious enough or *knows* that packages are often left in these nooks (there are other similar condo setups in the association), then it's easily a prime target.

That said, do any of you have suggestions on small cameras that offer good motion detection capabilities which can be mounted on the inside behind a window (I have two windows facing the side of the entry way which would provide good visibility for anyone approaching the door)? I'm also considering picking up a Ring doorbell but wanted to do more research before I jump on buying stuff.  The camera(s) behind the window(s) would primarily be used for motion detection while I'm out of the house or on vacation for more than a few days. The Ring doorbell seems like a nice product to be able to use as a communication device to ward off solicitors and other unwanted persons. I'm also up for suggestions on DIY solutions. Or hybrid DIY and "plug-n-play" solutions.

Of course, the best defense is to be proactive and have a friend swing by to get the package before the thieves know about it. The caveat with that is that you can't predict when a package will be delivered and there will always be some time window, long or short, where thieves have a chance at it. I'm sounding paranoid but after this has happened to me, I feel violated and am very concerned about this petty crime in my neighborhood. Though, now that I work from home and my wife is stay at home, anyone trying to steal a package is better off thinking twice. So this is more about having 'coverage' while we're away for more than a day, or even a few hours... Anything I can do to contribute to stopping it and helping the police is well worth the money and time IMHO.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2016, 03:32:39 PM by jplee3 »

csprof

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Hey all,

So while away on vacation this past week, it looks like some jacka** stole a package off my porch that was delivered on Monday. Unfortunately, I was mostly out of cell range the entire time and couldn't have a friend check until Thursday, when he let me know there was no package there.

The entry way is relatively hidden and inconspicuous which is a double-edged sword - on one hand, most people wouldn't notice or bother with approaching the door since packages are typically out of sight when the mailman/delivery guy leaves them there. But on the other hand, if anyone is curious enough or *knows* that packages are often left in these nooks (there are other similar condo setups in the association), then it's easily a prime target.

That said, do any of you have suggestions on small cameras that offer good motion detection capabilities which can be mounted on the inside behind a window (I have two windows facing the side of the entry way which would provide good visibility for anyone approaching the door)? I'm also considering picking up a Ring doorbell but wanted to do more research before I jump on buying stuff.  The camera(s) behind the window(s) would primarily be used for motion detection while I'm out of the house or on vacation for more than a few days. The Ring doorbell seems like a nice product to be able to use as a communication device to ward off solicitors and other unwanted persons. I'm also up for suggestions on DIY solutions. Or hybrid DIY and "plug-n-play" solutions.

Of course, the best defense is to be proactive and have a friend swing by to get the package before the thieves know about it. The caveat with that is that you can't predict when a package will be delivered and there will always be some time window, long or short, where thieves have a chance at it. I'm sounding paranoid but after this has happened to me, I feel violated and am very concerned about this petty crime in my neighborhood. Though, now that I work from home and my wife is stay at home, anyone trying to steal a package is better off thinking twice. So this is more about having 'coverage' while we're away for more than a day, or even a few hours... Anything I can do to contribute to stopping it and helping the police is well worth the money and time IMHO.

DIY or off-the-shelf?

Off-the-shelf cloud-based, I'd consider Ring or the new Nest Outdoor cam.  (I haven't tried either - one of my friends has a ring and is pretty happy with it, and I have a nest indoor that we used as a baby monitor when our daughter was younger).  The nest is exceptionally easy to use - I replaced my hacked-up DIY solution with it and have been happy.  Note, though, that the cost can add up for your application because you'd need the recording subscription.

There's an entire set of non-cloud-based off the shelf solutions, but I don't know much about them.

DIY, well, it depends just how DIY. :)

Lmoot

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Are you able to include special delivery instructions to leave the package at a nearby delivery station, or post office? If that's not available you could perhaps build/place a hidden storage box, maybe something that doubles/camo's as a seat box, which opens....then include in delivery instructions to place in there, or on the side of the house, or to call you when it's delivered.

Or you can just track the delivery if that is an option. I live on a very busy street and have most of my packages sent to family who I visit frequently.

cacaoheart

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I used to pay $15 per month for a private mail box at a UPS Store so they would receive and hold all of my packages, from UPS, FedEx, and USPS. Whenever a package arrived they'd email me and I could go by and pick it up at any time. Now I deal directly with the shipment companies.

If your priority is safe delivery of packages, FedEx ("Fedex delivery manager") and UPS ("UPS my choice") have options where they will text/email you an estimate of when a package will be delivered (4 hour time frame), when it has arrived, and you can potentially reroute a package elsewhere, such as to a friend that is home while you're out of town, or have the package held. For USPS I place a hold online whenever I'll be away from home for more than a day or so. I use the free versions of delivery management offered by each company, and this could be combined with whatever security options you choose to add on.


Daley

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Personally, I think the ubiquity of security cameras are more an illusion of safety than anything else, and Ring is an expensive, high-tech solution for a problem that people with more money than sense usually create for themselves.

The money will be better spent on a secure parcel drop if you insist on delivery without someone present at your address, and inform the parcel shippers accordingly.

Otherwise, just go down to your local USPS branch office, and FedEx and UPS delivery hubs with a driver's license showing your delivery address and just set your location to signature on delivery only and/or hold at facility for pickup. If you really want, you can do all the other fancy reroute stuff that Cacaoheart mentioned, but this is the simplest and most frugal solution: mandatory chain of custody with human verification, paper trail, and hand-off.

Don't bother blanketing yet another tiny portion of the Earth with yet another highly insecure networked security camera unless you have problems with actual property vandalism and targeted theft. What you're dealing with is casual theft of convenience, and you created that convenience by not planning ahead in the first place.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 08:39:53 AM by I.P. Daley »

Frankies Girl

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I always had packages delivered to my work when I was still working. Now I just make sure to check the shipping info and be on the lookout that day. If I was going to be out of town, I'd have the package held at the UPS/FedEx/USPS (like I.P suggested) or delivered to a friend/family member's house I knew would be home.

The package thieves aren't going to bother knocking or ringing a bell. They just walk up and take whatever and leave. At best, you might have a decent shot of some person that may someday result in their arrest, but your package is still long gone even with a security system. Mostly, you'll end up with a blurry pic that won't do squat.

You won't be increasing your security much either. At most, cameras and security systems prevent the causal or stupid kid break ins. A pro will be able to get in and out sooner than you can get the cops out there no matter how good your system is.

jeromedawg

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Is it possible to initiate signature required or holding a package at a specific location outside of the shipper initiating the shipment from now on without paying extra? Or do I always have to request/give the shipper special instructions if I want this? Sometimes there are packages that seemingly show up "out of nowhere" usually some freebie I got or whatever. What I'm more bothered by is people approaching my door who have no business doing so - in this case, what are some good cost-effective deterrents that will make someone think twice?
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 07:33:38 PM by jplee3 »

Daley

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Is it possible to initiate signature required or holding a package at a specific location outside of the shipper initiating the shipment from now on without paying extra?

Yes.
just go down to your local USPS branch office, and FedEx and UPS delivery hubs with a driver's license showing your delivery address and just set your location to signature on delivery only and/or hold at facility for pickup.

Don't contact support or try to do this online or over the phone. Physically go down to your local delivery hubs and ask to make the physical address signature only on delivery and explain that it's due to issues of security and package theft issues. It's already done for businesses and "higher crime" residential addresses automatically... for free.

What I'm more bothered by is people approaching my door who have no business doing so - in this case, what are some good cost-effective deterrents that will make someone think twice?

A moat, barbed wire, and some gun turrets perhaps?

Maybe you should just... relax a bit, learn from your mistake of carelessly inviting crimes of convenience through your own actions (or lack there-of), stop letting fear dictate how you live, and learn a bit of hospitality. It might just help improve your relationship with your physical neighbors so they'll keep a closer look out on your behalf.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 09:26:39 PM by I.P. Daley »

jeromedawg

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Is it possible to initiate signature required or holding a package at a specific location outside of the shipper initiating the shipment from now on without paying extra?

Yes.
just go down to your local USPS branch office, and FedEx and UPS delivery hubs with a driver's license showing your delivery address and just set your location to signature on delivery only and/or hold at facility for pickup.

Don't contact support or try to do this online or over the phone. Physically go down to your local delivery hubs and ask to make the physical address signature only on delivery and explain that it's due to issues of security and package theft issues. It's already done for businesses and "higher crime" residential addresses automatically... for free.

What I'm more bothered by is people approaching my door who have no business doing so - in this case, what are some good cost-effective deterrents that will make someone think twice?

A moat, barbed wire, and some gun turrets perhaps?

Maybe you should just... relax a bit, stop letting fear dictate how you live, and learn a bit of hospitality. It might just help improve your relationship with your physical neighbors so they'll keep a closer look out on your behalf.

Well, the ADT sign that was left behind by previous neighbors didn't seem to help this time around ;) I'll have to find some time to head to my post office, UPS, and Fedex to do signature delivery. Is there any reason why it can't be done over the phone though?

Daley

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Is there any reason why it can't be done over the phone though?

Chain of custody. You need to talk with the people who actually manage delivery in your area.

bobechs

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No packages, no theft.

Just sayin'....

jeromedawg

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No packages, no theft.

Just sayin'....

I guess my last package can be a 3d printer (signature required of course). Then I can print virtually anything I want and never have to buy anything ever again :D

bobechs

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No packages, no theft.

Just sayin'....

I guess my last package can be a 3d printer (signature required of course). Then I can print virtually anything I want and never have to buy anything ever again :D

Print you up a zip-gun and defend yo' front door like Charles Heston in The Omega Man:


jeromedawg

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No packages, no theft.

Just sayin'....

I guess my last package can be a 3d printer (signature required of course). Then I can print virtually anything I want and never have to buy anything ever again :D

Print you up a zip-gun and defend yo' front door like Charles Heston in The Omega Man:



Maybe a motion-sensing shotgun.

bobechs

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Quote from: jplee3 link=topic=59102.msg1165318#msg1165318 date=1469505294

Maybe a motion-sensing shotgun.

[/quote

Nahhh... infrared .  For The Zombie Win


jeromedawg

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Rocket

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I have outdoor camera's that saved me from being broken into while at work.  Neighbors saw someone knock on my door, then go around the side of the house to get around back.  I'm guessing they saw my camera's and took off.  My cameras were offline at that point.  Older IP cameras can be difficult to keep running.  Neighbors called the police and caught the guys a couple of streets away.  Not a mistake in that these guys had long records for burgularies.   My best defense seems to be the two older ladies that live across from me that pay attention:)  Just bought a netgear arlo wire free camera.  Runs on batteries that last 4-6months and uses low powered wifi.  If you have an internet connection inside these cameras can be placed anywhere within 3 hundred feet of the base, inside or outside.  Video gets stored on arlo netgear clould for a week for free.   Cameras are not inexpensive.  Only had it for a week so I'm still testing but so far so good.  How long the battery actually lasts will be interesting.  But being able to install camera's quickly without any networking issues is really nice.

MissNancyPryor

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Chiming in on the cameras, we have half a dozen going around the house and they are very visible and obviously real.  It has made a huge difference.  We are in a kind of high traffic area and there is always somebody knocking to sell something or whatnot, we generally don't answer if we don't know them.  When DH was expat to the Middle East it absolutely gave me a great sense of confidence, and it was when he left that I installed them. 

What finally did it was one night when a guy showed up after dark and was pounding on my door for a few minutes.  Easy to ignore until he actually TRIED TO OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR.  I had caught a sideways glimpse of him through a window and didn't know him so I wasn't going to answer.  There was no reason for him to be pounding and certainly not jiggling the handle.  Due to his loud pounding I was standing hidden in the hallway holding an 870 at the time so if he really tried to break in he would be dead.  I ordered the cameras the next day.

It had happened before, people showing up and trying the doors, must be looking for an easy mark.  We have also had a peeping Tom in our backyard looking through the windows before the cameras. Since the install I have seen sketchy guys show up, peek around and then see the cameras blinking at them and quickly turn tail.  I am sure the cameras have prevented break ins and package thefts.  I can see who is out front very easily and it is like caller ID for the door.  I wish we lived in a quieter neighborhood that didn't have so much through-traffic.  Eventually we will.     

       

bacchi

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For Amazon, use Amazon Locker.

cacaoheart

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As others have noted, if you or your wife will typically be home and awake, it makes sense to require a signature. My issue with accepting deliveries stemmed from when I was working night shift and not wanting to wake up to accept a package.

Though I've largely lived in good neighborhoods, one thing I did like about having a private mailbox to deliver all packages to was that if someone were to ever knock on my door claiming they had a delivery for me I would know they were likely lying.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2016, 06:44:19 PM by cacaoheart »

PhillyWill

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Quote from: jplee3 link=topic=59102.msg1165318#msg1165318 date=1469505294

Maybe a motion-sensing shotgun.

[/quote

Nahhh... infrared .  For The Zombie Win



I know exactly what that thing is. Thank you for inviting it back into my nightmares for another six months.

ormaybemidgets

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If this is not the kind of thing that usually happens in your neighborhood, stay hopeful. I sent a birthday gift to my dad and tracked the package. When it didn't show up that day or the next, he assumed someone stole it from outside the front door. Two WEEKS later a neighbor came over and said it'd been delivered to his house by mistake... he just took his sweet time bringing it over (the replacement had already arrived by then!).

jeromedawg

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If this is not the kind of thing that usually happens in your neighborhood, stay hopeful. I sent a birthday gift to my dad and tracked the package. When it didn't show up that day or the next, he assumed someone stole it from outside the front door. Two WEEKS later a neighbor came over and said it'd been delivered to his house by mistake... he just took his sweet time bringing it over (the replacement had already arrived by then!).

Yea, that may be the case. Though, the UPS driver who delivered the package came by in response to my filing a lost package claim,  and he told me he definitely dropped it at the front door. I had to sign an acknowledgement saying I didn't receive the package. As I mentioned, I've had *many* deliveries from UPS over the past years I've lived here and have never had any issues with package theft. But this is something that has been on the rise in the past couple years. From now on, I'm going to change my delivery options with UPS and Fedex to ring/knock and have a "door person" sign - it looks like this is an option. If not, I will have packages delivered to my friend's or neighbor's place, requiring a signature. There is still a chance that a package thief scoping the area and or tailing UPS/Fedex will swoop in and grab the package right away though, so I don't think there's a failsafe to ever having a package left at the door. All this said, I'm still planning to add the Ring and perhaps more as package theft is just the beginning of my concerns - in my neighborhood, there has been an increase in car and home break-ins/burglaries. This makes me even more concerned while on longer vacations. I haven't been setting my home alarm up until now, but I think we will start using it when we are out of the house and on vacation.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 12:56:48 PM by jplee3 »

Jack

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Personally, I think the ubiquity of security cameras are more an illusion of safety than anything else, and Ring is an expensive, high-tech solution for a problem that people with more money than sense usually create for themselves.

The money will be better spent on a secure parcel drop if you insist on delivery without someone present at your address, and inform the parcel shippers accordingly.

Otherwise, just go down to your local USPS branch office, and FedEx and UPS delivery hubs with a driver's license showing your delivery address and just set your location to signature on delivery only and/or hold at facility for pickup. If you really want, you can do all the other fancy reroute stuff that Cacaoheart mentioned, but this is the simplest and most frugal solution: mandatory chain of custody with human verification, paper trail, and hand-off.

Don't bother blanketing yet another tiny portion of the Earth with yet another highly insecure networked security camera unless you have problems with actual property vandalism and targeted theft. What you're dealing with is casual theft of convenience, and you created that convenience by not planning ahead in the first place.

+1

Even if a security camera were the right solution, a ridiculous $200 cloud-managed one is certainly not.

gliderpilot567

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Put a large, heavy old foot locker (trunk, for those of you from that other region) on your porch. Put a lot of heavy bricks inside but leave room for packages. Leave it open, and hang an unlocked padlock on the foot locker latch. Leave a note for deliveryman to put any packages inside the footlocker and then snap the padlock shut. You keep the key with you of course and open the footlocker when you get back.

Doesn't work so good if you have many packages delivered at many times throughout the day, but way cheaper than most of the other solutions on here.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 04:25:25 PM by gliderpilot567 »

jeromedawg

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Put a large, heavy old foot locker (trunk, for those of you from that other region) on your porch. Put a lot of heavy bricks inside but leave room for packages. Leave it open, and hang an unlocked padlock on the foot locker latch. Leave a note for deliveryman to put any packages inside the footlocker and then snap the padlock shut. You keep the key with you of course and open the footlocker when you get back.

Doesn't work so good if you have many packages delivered at many times throughout the day, but way cheaper than most of the other solutions on here.

Nice solution... if I only had the space for it!

FIRE me

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That said, do any of you have suggestions on small cameras that offer good motion detection capabilities which can be mounted on the inside behind a window (I have two windows facing the side of the entry way which would provide good visibility for anyone approaching the door)?

You might try a game cam as a low dollar solution.

It would come with some disadvantages. It uses batteries ($), and unless you can hide it well you will need a cable and lock to keep the thief from walking off with it.

Also, I don't think that the motion detection would work from behind glass. So you would have to put it outside.

https://www.amazon.com/Moultrie-Game-Glow-Camera-Green/dp/B00T34P34M

nickybecky1

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Put a large, heavy old foot locker (trunk, for those of you from that other region) on your porch. Put a lot of heavy bricks inside but leave room for packages. Leave it open, and hang an unlocked padlock on the foot locker latch. Leave a note for deliveryman to put any packages inside the footlocker and then snap the padlock shut. You keep the key with you of course and open the footlocker when you get back.

Doesn't work so good if you have many packages delivered at many times throughout the day, but way cheaper than most of the other solutions on here.

Actually that sounds just like a cheaper DIY version of this product: http://www.thelandport.com/. They recommend you put the combo into the address notes, or on profiles for the different companies where you can submit delivery instructions for your address (it's an electronic combo so you can change them and delete them), so if you trust the delivery people, you could probably do something similar with the footlocker/combo lock version. I looked into something like the landport when we moved to a very high traffic area but it's SO expensive.