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Worried about parcel theft? Here are 7 clever ideas to avoid it

·4-min read
Parcel under doormat and man stealing parcel
Clicking ‘leave in a safe place’ may put your delivery at risk. (Source:@ChloeGrayling via Twitter, Getty)

Millions of Aussies leave themselves vulnerable to porch theft by instructing delivery drivers to leave their parcels “in a safe place”.

Despite the best efforts of delivery drivers to leave items in a safe place, there’s always a risk when leaving a parcel unattended.

One woman took to social media to encourage people to stop authorising couriers to leave their packages unattended after one of her packages was stolen after a driver left it on her front door.

“If you're waiting to receive your goods, I highly recommend you pick them up from AusPost as my definition of a safe place is someone else's definition of ‘please help yourself to a FREE parcel’," she wrote on Facebook.

While we might be a trusting bunch, thefts and break-ins are on the rise in Australian capital cities now that people are returning to the workplace post-pandemic.

Brisbane has already started to see an uptick in all kinds of theft, with the city reporting a 22 per cent increase in theft in 2021 on the previous year.

CouriersPlease chief transformation officer Jessica Ip said: “It’s more important than ever for Australians to ensure they have a safe place on their property for couriers to leave parcels securely.

Last year, 14.8 million parcels were delivered by courier service CouriersPlease with an “authority to leave” instruction.

“Fortunately, there are also a number of things shoppers can do to ensure the safety of their deliveries.”

Ip offered seven ideas that would allow you to shop online in peace.

1. Get parcel insurance. Parcel insurance covers the purchase value of lost, damaged or stolen deliveries.

Aussies can purchase insurance cover, particularly for more expensive items, which is offered by many retailers during the checkout process.

Depending on the price of the item, insurance can start from as little as $2. But beware: If you select “authority to leave” on an item, your parcel may no longer be covered by insurance.

2. Deliver to your workplace or to a neighbour you trust. If you know you won’t be home, get the parcel delivered to your workplace. Just make sure you check that it’s allowed.

Organising delivery to a trusted friend or relative who is always at home is also a great alternative for safe deliveries.

3. Choose a collection point. Having orders delivered to a collection location such as a petrol station, newsagent or pharmacy can guarantee the security of the parcel.

Many of these collection points are also open after hours, and some – such as petrol stations - come with parking.

4. Set up a simple WIFI security camera. Deter thieves by buying a wifi, battery-powered, weatherproof camera.

These are now quite affordable, and are available at major retail outlets from around $160.

Many come with two-way talk capabilities and programmable real-time motion, spotlights and loud sirens for night-time deterrence.

5. Invest in a lockable parcel box. Parcel boxes are a worthwhile investment for those who regularly purchase high-value goods and want further peace of mind.

A lockable parcel box works similarly to a public post box. Couriers open the top door of the box and place parcels on the plastic flap. Once the lid is closed, the parcels can only be removed through a locked door at the bottom. Boxes can set you back around $100-$500 at major retail outlets, such as Bunnings.

6. Request plain packaging. Some retailers will automatically offer the option at checkout for customers to choose sustainable, non-branded packaging for their order.

This option is also suitable for safeguarding high-value goods.

7. Involve the community. A great way to keep the neighbourhood safe and reduce parcel theft is to organise a neighbourhood watch group.

These groups are often created on social media, and are often exclusive to members in a suburb, street or apartment building.

Members can report suspicious sightings and keep neighbours informed regarding theft and other issues.

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