A Bonus of Smart Home Tech? Catch Porch Pirates With It!

December 21, 2018

Better watch out: There are Grinches on the prowl this holiday season, snatching up packages left on doorsteps and preying on homeowners’ online shopping addictions. Doorstep package thefts have been on the rise: Nearly one-third of Americans—or 26.1 million—report having a package stolen from their front porch or doorstep, according to a new report from InsuranceQuotes.com.

Package in front of door

© Razvan Chisu/EyeEm/Getty Images

In response, more homeowners are getting creative to catch these package thieves—and they're using smart-home tech to do it. Video doorbells can capture video and audio as thieves try to sneak off with packages left on a homeowners’ doorsteps. For example, Google’s Nest Hello video doorbell, Ring, and other smart doorbells are catching more porch pirates in action.

“Having a visual deterrent like a video doorbell can show there’s security at a house and may make a porch pirate think twice,” says Erick Low, product manager who oversees Google’s Nest Cam Outdoor and Nest Hello. Nest Cam and Nest Hello allow homeowners to keep an eye on their front door through a video camera embedded within the doorbell or video cameras strategically located outside. The devices can alert homeowners on their smartphone when the doorbell has been pressed or any motion has been detected on a front stoop. Homeowners can speak to visitors remotely through the smartphone app or listen in secret as they watch someone at their front door. Video doorbell systems from Nest and Ring, for example, also offer continuous monitoring features that record footage 24/7 for playback at any time. The Nest doorbell also has an added facial recognition feature and can alert you to a familiar or an unfamiliar face at your doorstep.

Fifty-seven percent of consumers who have been victimized by porch pirate thieves or vandals say they’ve responded by upping their security measures at home, like adding motion detectors on lights, security systems, automatic timer on lights, video doorbells, and lockboxes for any packages that are left at their doorstep, according to the InsuranceQuotes.com survey.

Smart-home tech is increasingly being adopted by consumers, and security has been one area cited for a big driver of its growth. A survey by August Home, a company that makes smart door locks, found that 63 percent of consumers cite home security as the biggest motivation to buying a smart-home device. Numerous smart-home devices are aimed at beefing up a home’s security, from cameras that can detect break-ins to safety devices that can detect smoke, fire, carbon monoxide, and moisture levels. Read more: Help Clients Get Wise to Smart-Tech Hype

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine’s Daily Real Estate News