When you order something online or send your friend a gift, you expect it to be delivered safe and sound. Though most parcels and packages do make it to the correct front doors in good condition, they don’t always stay put for long – especially in holiday seasons. This is because thieves will actually cruise round neighbourhoods in search of boxes left on doorsteps… and steal them. Others go as far to stalk specific delivery trucks, so not only do they know where to find the goods, but they also know exactly what they’re getting.

Much like any theft, package robbery can cause huge upset and is able to strip decent people of considerable sums of money. Take measures to minimise your potential of being a victim of package theft by reading these 8 precautionary suggestions:

Install a locking mailbox and check it early on in the day

This won’t stop thieves from trying to break into your mailbox, but it will certainly make it a whole lot harder for them to get at your goods. Plus, if you check your mail early enough you’ll leave a really small window in which you could become a target. If for some reason you cannot retrieve your mail daily, ask a trusted neighbour to collect it for you.

Use UPS or FedEx to ensure you can track the progress of packages

Tracking and tracing your package or parcel is a really good idea, especially if you’re living in flats, are on holiday or are constantly at work. Tracking the progress of your parcel is the most accurate way to obtain an estimated time of arrival. Using such a service also means that you can arrange a close friend or family member to go and collect the package for you, without requiring them to wait around for the delivery.

If the above is not possible, ask the shipper to provide you with a window of time when the package will be delivered

Even having a very basic timeframe in which you can expect the package to be delivered can be highly helpful. If the shipper says, “it will be with you between 11am – 1pm” then you won’t have to stay in waiting the entire day. Instead you can go for your morning stroll and even pick up your kids from nursery like usual! Why waste the day when you don’t need to?

Alert recipients when sending a package, so they know what to expect and when

If you’re sending a gift or even money in a card, be clever enough to alert the recipients beforehand. This way they can keep their eye out for a parcel in the post or let their neighbours know that something will be coming for them. In addition to this, you’ll also be able find out whether or not the item was delivered on time and to the right place.

Insure the contents you’re sending

Although making recipients aware of a parcel they should receive is helpful in terms of delivery confirmation, it won’t do anything other than disappoint or upset the recipients if the package gets stolen somewhere along the way. To avoid this situation, insure all of the contents you’re sending – especially if they’re irreplaceable or expensive.

Send packages via recorded delivery

Recorded delivery gives you extra peace of mind when sending a precious parcel, as it includes proof of delivery and requires a signature on delivery. Using the Royal Mail recorded delivery service, you can check online to see whether or your item has been delivered.

If you’re going away, have packages shipped to your work place instead

Work places are usually very busy and well protected, which makes them a great delivery address option for when you’re ordering something online. Having CCTV cameras, a reception area and a constant flow of people coming in and out makes it hard for thieves to go for your goods with any success.

And most importantly, set up a reliable surveillance camera as part of your home security system

Of course, there is another deterrent that has proven to work and that’s displaying obvious home CCTV cameras. This option is great for those who don’t have a local newsagents or suitable place of work that they can send their deliveries to, though is it highly recommended for anyone who can afford to fork out a small amount for general protection purposes.