With nearly half of UK adults receiving more parcel deliveries since lockdown measures were introduced, it appears that criminals are cashing in.
Worrying new research from ADT Fire & Security has found that parcel thefts are rife across the country, as the brand encourages Brits to be extra vigilant and stay ‘parcel-safe’ in the lead up to Christmas.
More than 12 million Brits (23%) have had an online parcel delivery stolen from outside their home, a figure which rises substantially in the capital, with a staggering two in five Londoners (41%) experiencing this kind of theft first-hand.
This is followed by the West Midlands with 27% revealing they had been a victim of delivery theft, and 24% of people in Yorkshire.
With the nation feeling the economic pain of the pandemic, the research comes as a stark warning as many families are adapting to tighter budgets this year. It seems that Brits are also concerned for their personal safety when accepting deliveries from online orders, with over a quarter of Brits (26%) admitting to being fearful of opening the door to a stranger.
This figure again rises considerably in London, with almost half (44%) of those living in the capital feeling vulnerable about receiving deliveries.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Londoners are twice as likely to have a special ‘delivery box’ setup outside their homes for delivery drivers to leave parcels, in a bid to try and avoid thefts, with 16% saying they had one compared to just 7% of the rest of the country. People in the capital (40%) are also more likely to have extra security measures in place, such as security cameras, to keep their homes safe compared with just one in four (27%) people nationally.
When it comes to nominating a “safe place” for the delivery driver to leave a parcel if there is no one home, the most common suggestions included: unlocked porches (21.2%), sheds or outbuildings (16.4%) and the front or back garden (13%). Nearly half of us (47%) nominate our neighbours to receive a parcel if we aren’t in and it appears that people in the North-East are the most neighbourly, with 58% of people in the region nominating a neighbour.
Many Brits (21%) have also found their parcels delivered to truly bizarre ‘safe places’ by their delivery drivers. Respondents shared instances of parcels being delivered inside fridges and flowerpots, in or under pet hutches, but most commonly parcels were left in waste bins – two unlucky Brits even had their parcels taken away by the bin men!
Lee Jasper Head of Products and Solutions at ADT said: “Lockdown has exacerbated online deliveries across the country and with Christmas fast approaching it has never been more important to safe-proof deliveries. A strong theme that has emerged from our findings is that Brits are struggling to find the perfect solution to make deliveries seamless. While those lucky enough to know their neighbours seem to have the advantage here, there are still some simple steps everyone can take to keep parcels safe this Christmas.”
To help people stay ‘parcel-safe” over the winter months ADT has published top tips to help protect online shoppers and deter parcel thieves:
1. Schedule deliveries directly with the courier company
A common struggle is organising your time so that you are available to accept packages in person; with many of us in back-to-back Zoom meetings, juggling dog walks and also looking after young ones this isn’t always possible. Fortunately, with most deliveries you are able to set free notifications with the service provider letting you know exactly when your package will arrive, providing you with the option to reschedule or have the item held for pick-up at a later or more convenient time.
2. Be specific with your delivery instructions in the event of nobody being home
Adding thorough delivery instructions will help reduce the chances of your parcel being left in an undesirable location. You can suggest leaving items with a specific neighbour whom you trust, or asking the driver / company to get in touch with you directly when the driver is near, so that you can make a more informed decision about where the parcel is then left, or if the delivery needs to be delayed.
3. Avoid requesting to leave parcels in obvious safe places
It is tempting to take a chance, and request parcels to be left in a convenient place. Whilst it may well be hidden from plain sight, it is also a primary target for opportunistic thieves scoping your premises for valuables. A parcel box could be a better solution here, as parcels are kept locked out of sight, and more importantly out of reach. Trusted neighbours are also another fantastic option as most are happy to keep hold of parcels for you until you’re able to collect them.
4. Invest in a video doorbell to keep an eye on parcel deliveries, and deter thieves
Video doorbells can help to make deliveries safer and more efficient when you’re tied up with other responsibilities. If you’re a parent of a young child, or a carer for a vulnerable family member, using a doorbell to communicate directly with the delivery person and instruct where parcels should be left, contact-free, can provide relief if you’re concerned about personal safety. It can also be used to keep an eye on and deter possible intruders lurking around your front door, scoping the area for unsupervised items.
5. Secure your space with lighting and motion detection so someone is alerted to movement in the area
Installing a CCTV system that will notify you when movement is detected is a great way to ensure that your parcels are safe and secure. Be sure to carry out regular checks to make sure that the camera is kept clean and the area is well-lit.
Not only will this ensure that the footage captured is visible, but it also acts as a deterrent to thieves who are more inclined to loiter in darkness to find ways to obtain valuables or grab and run off with parcels without being detected.