Purloined Packages On The Rise

By Paul Johnson, President Complete Mailing Solutions

I watched the news the other night and saw a video of a woman stealing packages off an unsuspecting homeowner’s front porch. Apparently this was not the first – or last – time she had done this. What chutzpah!

I also watched as apartment dwellers in a major city were complaining they were not able to get their packages from Amazon because there was no room in the apartment’s mailroom for them. Now what?

One of my neighbors told me he saw a couple stealing packages off front porches in our subdivision. They got into a car with the license plate covered up. He followed them but lost them. He found out they crashed into a fence and were caught. That’s one for the good guys!

Unfortunately, these are signs of our times. With the proliferation of online shopping, many mailrooms are overflowing with boxes – to the point that they are unable to accommodate the volume. In fact, mailrooms in many colleges, apartment buildings and other locations are starting to limit or not accept package deliveries. Conversely, consumers in housing developments are often not at home when packages arrive, either requiring a shipper to make multiple attempts to deliver or leaving a package unattended on a doorstep, vulnerable to theft. It’s only going to get worse.

To the rescue: Self-Service Parcel Terminals

parcel lockers
Popular overseas, Self-Service Parcel Terminals are free standing lockers that provide safety and convenience for both shippers and consumers. The terminals are operational 24/7, allowing customers to pick up items at their convenience and shippers can leave parcels in a safe, secure location, eliminating the need for multiple delivery attempts and liability due to theft.

Here’s how they work:

  1. Customers place and order and select the most convenient Parcel Terminal for delivery.
  2. Once the package is delivered, the customer is either emailed or texted a unique code that allows them access.
  3. The customer enters the code on the touchscreen, the code is authenticated and the locker opens allowing retrieval of the package.

Self-service parcel terminals offer a number of benefits:

  • Convenience – customers select the nearest location to pick up their package
  • Accessibility – the terminals are available 24/7
  • Safety – access codes are sent directly to the customer
  • Security – parcels are contained under lock and key, not exposed on a doorstep
  • Time Savings – customers retrieve packages when they choose

Self-Service Parcel Terminals have been around for a decade, most notably Great Britain, Germany, Denmark, Latvia and Poland. We think they solve a need here in the States and would encourage quick adoption.

What do you think?

Ever had a package stolen off your porch? Would you use a self-service parcel terminal? See any downsides to it? Give us your thoughts!