The following festive advice has been circulated on behalf of PC Allen Paul, Business Resilience Advisor at the Scottish Business Resilience Centre.

As thousands of households are gearing up for the festive period, more and more people are using online retailers to buy gifts for folk on the “nice” list. Online deliveries were already on the rise, but the global pandemic has accelerated this trend. Unfortunately the people on the naughty list, or as we would call them criminals, have also been taking advantage of this. Parcel theft is on the rise, and there has been an increase in parcels that have been stolen from outside consumer’s homes. It doesn’t stop there though, delivery companies themselves have also been targeted, and criminals often target the ‘final mile’ of a parcel’s journey.

Here are some things that consumers could do to reduce the risk of
doorstep parcel theft:

It seems obvious, but track your parcel to ensure that someone is at home for the delivery. This may be easier said than done, especially if you have a busy schedule, but most problems arise when the recipient isn’t at home.

If you know that you won’t be at home, arrange for your parcel to be delivered to a trusted neighbour.

Install a video doorbell.  These are often easier to install than a full CCTV system, with some able to send images to your mobile.

Install a security light. During the winter months, the hours of darkness can allow criminals to move around undetected.

Don’t ask the delivery company to leave parcels in obvious places. The more obvious a place, the easier it is for it to be targeted by thieves.

Consider installing a lockable parcel box and if possible, situate it out of sight as well as out of reach.

Using an off-site locker service for frequent deliveries could be an option, especially for expensive items; these parcel boxes are more likely to be in busy, safer locations – such as supermarkets – rather than secluded areas which can be targeted by thieves.

As already mentioned, delivery companies have also been victims of theft with, amongst other things, parcels being stolen from the rear of vehicles and in some cases, the theft of the whole vehicle.
Of course, once the Christmas festivities are over, people will continue with the convenience of shopping online and having purchases delivered to the door so, it goes without saying that this advice is for life, not just for Christmas!

Message Sent By
Willie Clark (NHWN, National Co – ordinator, Neighbourhood Watch Scotland)