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From video doorbells to package delivery boxes, here's Consumer Reports' tips to stop porch pirates

Posted at 1:53 PM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-15 15:11:43-05

(CONSUMER REPORTS/WTVF) — The holidays are just around the corner which unfortunately also means it’s prime time for so-called porch pirates – burglars who steal packages left for you by your porch or front door.

There are all sorts of home security products you can use — lights, cameras, video doorbells, package delivery boxes and even flood lights with cameras — all of which can help protect your porch and your home over the holidays and beyond.

Some unwelcome guests will never take the hint. But if you want to minimize package theft, Consumer Reports says there are several ways to keep your packages and home more secure, starting with package delivery boxes.

“Just as the name sounds, it’s a big box that you sit on your porch and your delivery people can drop your packages into. They’re a great option if you can get your delivery people to use them. My experience was that it varied drastically,” said Daniel Wroclawski, Consumer Reports Home Editor.

Other drawbacks — prices start at about $150, and they take up some space.

A better option is a battery-powered video doorbell that can detect when packages are left on your porch, send you an alert and keep tabs on your entryway.

“Not only are they really easy to install with no complex or intimidating wiring but they are also pretty affordable. You can get a great one for around 100 dollars or less,” said Wroclawski.

Consider this $100 Ring Video Doorbell, and if you subscribe to a Ring Protect plan for $3 a month, it will send package alerts to you.

To extend security beyond your front door, CR says consider adding or upgrading floodlights. Outside CR’s labs, Dan tried three floodlight security cameras.

“Flood light cameras are really just security cameras that double as floodlights. And the nice thing about floodlights is on most homes they're in spots that are ideal spaces for cameras. And they are hardwired for power so you never have to worry about recharging a battery,” said Wroclawski.

You can easily swap out your existing floodlights with this $180 Eufy which allows you to store recordings locally on the camera itself so you can skip that monthly cloud storage fee, too.

All three of the floodlights offer as much lighting as regular floodlights plus clear and crisp video monitoring. You’ll get a camera, floodlight, and a siren all in one package — and as a bonus, you can control your floodlight from your phone, a smart speaker, and even a smart TV.