Proven Solutions That Will Actually Prevent Package Theft in Multifamily

24 Q3 JULY BLOG Package Theft_blog header

In recent years, package theft has emerged as a significant concern for residents of multifamily housing communities. With the rise of e-commerce, the volume of package deliveries has increased exponentially, bringing with it a surge in so-called porch piracy. 

For the multifamily housing industry, this trend poses unique challenges. Shared entryways, communal mailrooms, and often limited oversight create ideal conditions for package thieves to strike.

Addressing the issue of package theft is not just about safeguarding parcels — it’s about ensuring the peace of mind and satisfaction of residents. When residents feel secure in their living environment, it directly contributes to their overall quality of life and sense of community. 

Moreover, effective measures to prevent package theft can enhance a property’s reputation, thereby preserving and even increasing its value. In an increasingly competitive housing market, properties that prioritize security and resident satisfaction stand out as more attractive to prospective residents.

In this blog, we’ll look at proven solutions that multifamily property managers and residents can implement to combat package theft effectively. From technological innovations to practical strategies, these solutions aim to provide a comprehensive approach to maintaining security and trust within your community.

The Rise of Package Theft

Package theft, particularly in multifamily properties, has seen a notable rise. Data from a CapitalOne shopping study indicates that over 35% of Americans have experienced package theft in the past year. Multifamily properties, such as apartment complexes, are particularly vulnerable. 

The CapitalOne research includes some interesting statistics:

 

Additionally, researchers found that “Apartment residents are 34.1% more likely to have a package stolen than the average for all home types.” This can be attributed to the common areas where packages are often left, making them easily accessible to thieves.

Several factors contribute to the increasing incidents of package theft. The surge in online shopping has significantly raised the number of deliveries, creating more opportunities for theft. In the “​​2023 Package Theft Annual Statistics and Trends” from Security.org, “[Americans] collectively spent over $1 trillion on e-commerce purchases that shipped in more than 21 billion packages

Additionally, the ease of access for thieves in multifamily properties, combined with insufficient security measures, worsens the problem. Many apartment complexes lack effective package handling systems and protocols, making it easier for thieves to operate without getting caught.

Preventing Package Theft: Traditional Measures

As online shopping continues to grow, so does the concern about package theft, which has led to the emergence and evolution of theft prevention measures. In the early stages of package delivery growth, traditional prevention measures, such as surveillance cameras, secure package rooms, and lockers (both traditional and smart), offered much-needed support. 

To prevent package theft, below are the methods that first rose in popularity.

Surveillance Cameras 

Surveillance cameras are a popular method for deterring package theft. They provide a visual deterrent to potential thieves and can capture evidence if a theft occurs. The main advantage of surveillance cameras is their ability to monitor and record activity around the clock, providing a sense of security and the potential for identifying perpetrators. 

However, there are also some disadvantages to consider. High-quality cameras and storage systems can be expensive to install and maintain. Additionally, the presence of cameras does not always prevent determined thieves and may not guarantee the recovery of stolen packages. 

Despite these drawbacks, surveillance cameras can be highly effective when combined with other security measures, as they increase the risk for thieves and help in post-incident investigations.

Secure Package Rooms 

Secure package rooms offer a controlled environment for receiving and storing packages. These rooms are typically accessible only to authorized personnel, such as building residents or staff, and can be equipped with additional security measures like cameras and access control systems. The primary benefit of secure package rooms is the added layer of security they provide, reducing the likelihood of theft by limiting access to packages. 

However, implementing and managing secure package rooms can be challenging. They require sufficient space within a building and may involve significant costs for construction and ongoing maintenance. Additionally, ensuring the rooms are properly monitored and that only authorized individuals have access can be complex, particularly in larger buildings with high package volumes.

Lockers and Smart Lockers 

Lockers and smart lockers have become increasingly popular solutions for package security. Traditional lockers provide individual, lockable compartments where packages can be securely stored until collected by the recipient. Smart lockers take this a step further by incorporating technology such as digital access codes or mobile app integration, allowing for convenient, contactless retrieval of packages. 

The primary advantage of lockers and smart lockers is their ability to provide secure, self-service storage that is accessible at any time. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for recipients who may not be available during regular delivery hours. 

However, there are some limitations. The initial installation of lockers, particularly smart lockers, can be costly, and they require ongoing maintenance to ensure functionality. Additionally, lockers may have limited capacity, potentially leading to overflow issues during peak delivery times that tax onsite teams and increase liability. While lockers initially improved the overall convenience of package delivery, it’s been a solution that has struggled to keep up with burgeoning demand.

While each of these methods continues to offer unique benefits, package delivery in the multifamily space simply is not what it used to be, and property teams are facing the brunt of it as online shopping and consumer expectations skyrocket. 

Consider this package delivery statistic from CapitalOne shopping research: Compared to 2023, packages shipped worldwide are expected to increase by 39% in 2024. So as the growth of online shopping has exploded, these traditional means of protecting package deliveries have faced distinct challenges in keeping pace.

The Role of Property Management in Preventing Package Theft

Communication: Effective communication between property management and residents is crucial for maintaining package security. Regular updates and clear instructions on best practices for package handling can significantly reduce the risk of theft. Property managers should inform residents about available security measures, such as surveillance cameras and secure package management, and advise them on how to use these resources effectively. 

By keeping residents informed about any incidents of theft or suspicious activity and reminding them of preventive steps, property managers can foster a sense of community vigilance and cooperation, which is essential in deterring potential thieves.

Fetch is the only package management solution that provides ongoing support for onsite teams to promote the service to residents in a way that alternative solutions fall short.

Community Guidelines: Establishing and enforcing community guidelines for package handling is another vital role of property management. These guidelines might include specific protocols for delivery personnel, such as requiring them to leave packages in designated secure areas or with the concierge or providing information about using the community’s offsite package management system. 

Property managers can also encourage residents to promptly retrieve packages and report any discrepancies immediately. By creating a structured approach to package delivery and retrieval, property managers can minimize the opportunities for theft and ensure all residents are aware of and adhere to the best practices for securing deliveries.

Collaboration With Law Enforcement: Collaboration with local law enforcement is an essential aspect of property management’s efforts to combat package theft. Building a strong relationship with local police can enhance the security of the property through regular patrols and prompt responses to incidents. 

Property managers can also participate in community watch programs and share information about trends in package theft, helping law enforcement develop targeted strategies to address the issue. Additionally, involving law enforcement in community meetings and security briefings can provide residents with valuable insights and reassurance, further strengthening the property’s overall security posture.

How Fetch Solves the Problem of Package Theft

Fetch is changing the game of package management in multifamily by removing the package burden — and liability — from property managers and giving residents a delivery experience worth celebrating. As Luanne McNulty, VP at ZRS Management, shared, “The biggest selling point for us is that it removed the liability associated with managing residents’ packages.”

Fetch is a direct-to-door delivery service that was designed by multifamily professionals. Fetch’s solution allows residents to control their delivery service from the comfort of their couch, removing onsite teams from package management entirely. Now that’s innovative!

Package rooms and package lockers served a purpose, but they can’t fully respond to the security issue of unattended packages. And when package rooms overflow or software glitches create issues with lockers, onsite teams are left to fill the gap.

“Lockers or package rooms just cannot compete with all the services Fetch offers! Carrier (FedEx/UPS) compliance with logging packages into the lockers is so hard with the volume our building receives, and we often had carriers scan one package in and dump the rest of the unlogged packages into our old package room. With Fetch, our team doesn’t have to handle logging packages in and Fetch handles notifying residents when their package has arrived.”

– Emilie Bergman, Regional Property Manager, Greystar

Fetch is the only package management solution that fully removes the burden from the onsite property management team using offsite warehouses and last-mile delivery service direct to the resident’s door.

Fetch handles all aspects of package logistics, reducing the burden on staff and eliminating the need for additional security measures. This streamlined process not only enhances security but also adds a layer of convenience and flexibility that traditional methods lack. 

Take Action To Prevent Package Theft

As the multifamily housing industry grapples with the surge in package theft, it is imperative to adopt comprehensive, effective solutions that address both security and convenience. Traditional methods like surveillance cameras, secure package rooms, and lockers have provided a foundation, but as online shopping continues to grow, these measures alone are no longer sufficient. 

Implementing innovative solutions like Fetch can significantly enhance package security while relieving property management teams of the burdens associated with package handling. 

Ensuring the safety and satisfaction of residents should be a top priority for multifamily properties. By adopting proven solutions and staying informed about best practices, property managers can create a secure and attractive living environment that stands out in a competitive market. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from industry experts Amber Hammond, National Director of Sales at Fetch, and Danielle Archuleta, Director of Sales for Cloudastructure, as they discuss combatting package theft in multifamily properties. 
Register now to secure your spot and begin transforming your approach to package security.

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