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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. 

The good news is that, whether you’re a customer or a courier, you can take some simple steps to mitigate some of those risks.  

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.  

Again, there are some simple steps that delivery drivers and logistics businesses can do to reduce the chances of becoming victims of this. 

  • Remove keys and lock vehicle doors whenever vehicle is left unattended, even for a second. This includes when paying for fuel, buying a paper, making a delivery or receiving instructions. 
  • Drive with the doors locked in order to deter thieves who may try to enter the vehicle when it is stationary.  If anti-theft systems are fitted, make sure they’re working and use them. 
  • Park overnight at approved, well-lit locations if possible and avoid dark, isolated places.  Try to park in a way that prevents access to the rear doors. 
  • Be aware of bogus officials (who could be wearing stolen uniforms) or distractions: drivers may be alerted or stopped by ‘other drivers’ for supposed punctures, accidents, rear shutter insecure or door open, someone seeking help/directions etc. 
  • Keep documentation about your deliveries out of sight.  
  • Don’t talk to others about what you’re delivering or where you’re going to deliver next. 
  • If you realise a theft from your vehicle is occurring, don’t leave the safety of your cab. Lock the doors, start the engine, switch on the lights and if necessary sound the horn to attract attention. 
  • When returning to an unattended vehicle, always check for signs of tampering with doors, seals, straps or curtains. 
  • Most thefts are opportunistic and not carefully planned – stay alert. 
  • During busy periods, drivers may be put on additional routes, warehouse staff may be utilised as temporary drivers and agency staff recruited. Ensure vetting procedures are maintained 

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! 

Finally, best wishes to you all this year and on behalf of us all at the SBRC, we hope that you all have a very merry and safe Christmas!