How to deal with package theft in NYC apartment buildings

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You are far from alone when it comes to fight against delivery theft: thousands of parcels are stolen every day in the United States – and the problem has gotten worse with the explosive growth of online shopping.

Before reporting a missing delivery to your landlord, make sure it has been dropped off. Sometimes a courier may indicate that an order has been “delivered” in the system before it arrives, so wait a few minutes before reporting it (this has happened to me several times). Look around your entryway, lobby, and packing room to make sure it hasn’t been placed in the wrong place. And check the tracking and contact customer support if possible.

Is the delivery still missing? It’s time to report it to your landlord or building management, especially if it’s a recurring problem. Your landlord should be prepared to watch security camera footage to determine who the culprit is, says Robert Nelson, president of Nelson Management, a New York property management company. But face masks make it difficult to identify people on camera, he says, noting that his buildings have seen an increase in delivery thefts in recent months.


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What can your landlord do to thwart thieves? It really depends on the type of building you live in. For buildings with doormen, your landlord should make sure the doormen pick up deliveries, keep them in a secure area, and alert you when they arrive, Nelson says.

Parcel lockers can also help. Nelson says they have placed these lockers in several of their buildings. But even with these lockers, problems still exist. For example, some couriers will always drop off deliveries at your door or in the lobby, as this is faster than dealing with lockers. Nelson says he recently saw this happen in one of his buildings.

If you live in a small building with no doorman or staff, managing theft is a little trickier. Arik Lifshitz, CEO of DSA real estate group, says his team updated the locks on the front doors, installed security cameras and placed security gates and parcel lockers in the halls, but none of this completely stopped the theft.

Liftshitz says when his team looks at security footage from these incidents, the thieves often go undetected.wandered through the locks. They were recorded breaking locks and rummaging through packages. “They act like they own the place,” he says.

So what can you do to avoid this problem? Your best option is to meet the delivery person at the door if possible, Lifshitz says. You should also not let anyone into the building if you don’t know them and are not expecting a delivery. If you have an intercom system without video, confirm who it is before calling. And if you see someone in your building that you don’t recognize, you have every right to question them and call 911, he says.

You can also schedule delivery when you’re home, add signature requirements to your order, or request that it be left at a drop-off point like a UPS Access Point or Amazon hub.

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