TECH BYTE: Tech to Prevent Porch Pirates

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to do even more shopping online than ever before.

That means the packages on your doorstep can quickly add up.

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It’s beginning to look a lot like porch pirate season, and these thieves are keeping law enforcement busy.

“We have a heavy influx of stolen packages,” said Sgt. Robin Langford with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. “Most of them are taken off of porches and out of mailboxes.”

Don’t let this happen to you. You can use tech to catch the crooks in the act, or keep them away altogether.

Products like the Nest Cam, or Arlo Pro 2 Camera can help.

These types of cameras can keep track of any motion on your front steps.

The Arlo sends a push notification on your phone if motion or audio is detected. You can easily listen in, and use your smartphone to talk back through the camera if you’re not at home.

It also has night vision, and even keeps track of older footage if you need to look back at video from a few days ago.

If a camera is too high tech for you, there’s always BoxLock.

It’s just like the name – a box with a fancy lock on it.

The smart padlock works with delivery companies and Amazon.

BoxLock CEO Brad Ruffkess says the delivery driver uses the bar code scanner in the lock to scan the tracking number on the package being delivered.

The lock connects to the Internet to determine if the package is really for you, and out for delivery. If so, the lock will open, the driver can put your package inside the secure box, and lock it back up.

You’ll then get a notification on your phone that your package was securely delivered.

You can find BoxLock on Amazon, or getBoxLock.com.

Tech or not, it’s important to keep track of all of your packages, and when they’ll be delivered.

That way you can look out for them, or have a trustworthy neighbor pick them up for you if you’re not at home.

Sgt. Langford also recommends having packages delivered to your work, if possible.

“If the employer doesn’t mind packages being delivered there, personal packages, that’s probably one of the best options there is,” he said.

Some other tips? Sgt. Langford says if you can, make sure to get insurance on your packages in case they disappear.

Follow up with the delivery company, and file a police report if it’s suspicious.