American Institute of Building Design (AIBD)

Batten Down the Hatches, Ideas to Thwart Package Piracy [Midweek Vibe]

Published 3 months ago • 3 min read

Hello Reader,

Congrats on surviving Monday and crushing Tuesday.

Now Wednesday beckons you to take a break and celebrate this week's Midweek Vibe!

Thanksgiving weekend just passed, complete with the shopping extravaganzas of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Second Hand Sunday, and Cyber Monday.

With the flurry of online purchases, delivery trucks are now a common sight in our neighborhoods, carrying precious parcels to our doorsteps. In light of this, today we "celebrate" National Package Protection Day - a timely reminder to safeguard our homes against package theft.

First proclaimed by in 2016 (not a sponsor, BTW), this observance falls on the Wednesday following Thanksgiving and serves as a crucial prompt during the holiday season when the risk of 'Porch Pirates' looms large.

According to Forbes, the pandemic triggered a massive uptick in online ordering that fundamentally shifted how most consumers shop. And according to marketing experts, the trend appears to be holding strong.

At the same time, porch piracy has skyrocketed. According to another report by SafeWise, thieves nabbed roughly 260 million delivered packages in 2022, leading to $19.5 billion in losses.

As professionals in home design, we are no strangers to this challenge. Our community has been at the forefront, implementing innovative solutions to ensure that our clients' packages are safe.

But If you're seeking inspiration or fresh ideas, here are some ways our industry has responded.

According to a real estate agent in the greater Atlanta area, one such solution is “package doors,” which are starting to become a trend to keep online deliveries safe from rain, snow, and porch pirates.

This has sparked mixed reactions online. “Designing a house around buying stuff…I call this a problem,” added one person. Another said, "They won’t even ring my bell half the time. I’d be shocked if they used a code to open a door." And there was this observation, "Also known as an enclosed Foyer - popular in the late 1800s."'

Elizabeth_Bell715 is correct.

Foyers, or Vestibules, were commonly used from the late 19th century (Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival styles) until about the 1930s (Colonial Revival and Old English houses). They occasionally appeared as far back as the 18th century and as recently as the post-World War II era. In residential buildings, the vestibule acted as a sheltered waiting area before entering the main part of the house.

In contemporary architecture, a vestibule typically adjoins the outer door, connecting it with the interior of the building. It serves various purposes:

  • Heat Loss Reduction: By creating an intermediate space, vestibules help prevent heat loss from the interior.
  • Storage: Vestibules often serve as storage areas for outdoor clothing and other items.
  • Privacy and Security: They act as barriers, discouraging unwanted entry and providing privacy.

The team at Housing Design Matters agrees. Like those vestibules up north, the Parcel Delivery Vestibule(TM) effectively has two front doors. The first door allows access to the vestibule, and the second allows entry into the home. Packages can be left out of sight from the street and out of the elements.

According to Engineered Systems Magazine, it's important to be mindful of HVAC and air quality in vestibules. Anywhere we're creating a point where the indoors meets the outdoors, there could be the opportunity for mold if it's not adequately ventilated.

Housing Design Matters also suggests adding technology to this simple concept. If the outer door has an electronic lock and video monitoring doorbell, delivery personnel can ring the doorbell to gain access.

A more affordable solution, albeit less impressive, might be a delivery drop box. MB Sentinel is one manufacturer we found (also not a sponsor).

Named the "Box Gobbler," MB Sentinel builds each package box to order with your specifications, from a standalone curbside model to elegant wall and fence inserts and models made for multifamily properties.

Without any additional treatments around the box, advise your clients to budget around $3000 for most MB Sentinel solutions. A few are more and a couple less.

To learn more, we've made it easy for you to email MB Sentinel. Remember to let them know the AIBD Midweek Vibe sent you.

In addition to package doors and vestibules, homeowners can do several other things to protect their packages from theft. Such as...

  • Installing a security camera.
  • Requesting signature confirmation.
  • Tracking their packages.
  • Having packages delivered to their workplace.

Ultimately, how to handle deliveries to the home home is a personal decision. It may be a worthwhile investment for homeowners concerned about theft or damage.

Your clients will appreciate you knowing and weighing the pros and cons with them carefully before deciding.

American Institute of Building Design (AIBD)

The American Institute of Building Design (AIBD) is a professional association that promotes the highest standards of excellence in residential building design. AIBD offers a variety of resources to its members, including continuing education, networking opportunities, and marketing assistance. AIBD is a valuable resource for anyone interested in a career in residential building design. If you want to improve your skills, network with other professionals, and stay up-to-date on the latest trends, AIBD is the perfect organization for you.

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