How to Deal With a Porch Theft When You Share a Porch
Remember when the dream was a big house with a spacious porch, rolling lawns and a white picket fence? Yeah, it’s still a dream. In reality, a lot of us are living in smaller versions of our dream home. If you’re in the big city, or even a nice subdivision, semi-detached houses are popping up everywhere.
Is it still a spacious porch if you only get to use half of it?
If you live in a townhouse, brownstone or duplex with a shared porch, there are some definite advantages. You only have to shovel half of it, for example, or maybe none at all if you live in a complex with a property manager. And really, if you need to borrow a cup of sugar, you don’t even have to put shoes on. You just tiptoe across the porch and knock on the door.
Shared porches can also be handy when it comes to package safety. If you’ve got a big delivery coming and you know you won’t be home, you can pop over to Tim and Miranda’s and ask them to bring it inside for you.
But when it comes to how to handle a porch theft, sharing a porch can make things more complicated. When all the real estate is yours, the steps to follow are easy. But when common areas come into play, there are extra steps to take.
Like sending up the Bat-Signal. Or throwing a man overboard.
Okay, that’s maybe an overreaction. Before we get to keelhauling and hiring masked vigilantes, here are the steps to take when dealing with a porch theft from a shared porch.
To quote the angel Castiel, it seems this is going to involve *insert heavy sigh here* talking to people.
If your package is missing, the first thing to do is check with the people you share a porch with. And look, if you’re not best buds, that’s fine. You don’t need to invite them over for a meal. You just need to make sure they didn’t accidentally grab a box that was addressed to you. Accidents happen. Be cool about it.
Another option is to use social media or other messaging services to create a community group. Sites like NextDoor are all about connecting neighbors, or you can use a Facebook group or something like Whatsapp. Let your neighbors know your package is missing, in case it was misdelivered, and also so they can be on the lookout for aspiring package thieves in the future.
Contact the Authorities
No, not those authorities, though you may have to file a police report to get a replacement shipped, depending on what was stolen and where you ordered it from.
But package thieves usually target specific neighborhoods, so if your package has been stolen, odds are good others in the area have been a victim of theft or will be in the future. To help prevent future thefts, notify your landlord, HOA or property manager, and ask for their involvement.
Because of the limitations in lease agreements and standards in communities with HOAs, you often need approval before you can make modifications and changes. If you’re planning on using technology to fight porch theft, you may need to get the official thumbs up before you start.
Go for Tech
Porch theft is a crime of opportunity. Thieves want things to be easy, so make it hard.
Motion-activated lights will deter many thieves, particularly in darker months of the year, because no one wants a spotlight on them while they walk away with your new laptop.
And there’s no end to how you can entertain yourself with one of those doorbell cameras with a built-in speaker. “Step away from the box” never gets old.
Of course, like we said, installing these may require approval from your landlord, HOA or property manager. You don’t want to be dealing with complaints when your new motion detector light starts flashing into someone else’s bedroom. So take the right steps before you get yourself into more hot water.
Choose a Mutually-Acceptable Solution
When it comes to dealing with porch theft from a shared porch, you need to come to a solution that is mutually acceptable for everyone, including the other residents who share your porch (except the raccoons — those guys are jerks and don’t need to be consulted) and your landlord or HOA.
A secure package locker like the Package Protector is a great way to bring some peace of mind to your shared porch. You and your neighbors can use a common set of codes, the locker can be installed into the building’s exterior or mounted on a pedestal and safely accessed by delivery drivers while foiling package thieves.
To get the specs on a Package Protector, and all the information you’ll need to share with your neighbors and property management, click here to check out our package theft-foiling options.