Package theft prevention tips from the Asheville Police Department

Photo of a package by a front door



It’s the time of year for holiday cheer! These days,
many people are ordering gifts online, meaning packages are often delivered to the house when residents aren’t home.
Unfortunately, unattended packages can be a target
for thieves, also known as porch pirates.
Take these steps to safeguard your packages from theft.


Consider arranging to have packages delivered to neighbors who are home during the day, or get them delivered to your work, if permitted.


Sign for it. Signature Services via the USPS helps ensure your package ends up in the right hands by requiring a signature at the time of delivery.


Use Internet-enabled security cameras. You can install them inside and outside your home, watch your property from anywhere and record any activity. If the cameras are visible, they might deter thieves from stealing your deliveries in the first place.


Have packages delivered to an Amazon Locker. Instead of having deliveries left unsecured at your front door, you can have them delivered to one of Asheville’s several Amazon Lockers for pick up at your convenience. When you check out on, you can add a locker location as the delivery address. Once your package is delivered, you’ll receive an email with a six-digit code to your locker, and you’ll have three days to pick it up. There is no charge for this service.

Amazon Locker locations in Asheville:

  • Whole Foods at 4 S. Tunnel Road, 28805
  • Whole Foods at 70 Merrimon Ave., 28801
  • Belk at 5 S. Tunnel Road, 28805
  • Asheville Mountain Pharmacy at 1272 Tunnel Road, Suite 20, 28805


Give special instructions to the package delivery service. Some services let you indicate where to leave your package if you’re not home. Using UPS’ My Choice tool, or Delivery Manager from FedEx, you can instruct drivers to leave a package at a back door, with a building superintendent, in a coded lockbox, or with neighbors.


Ask a local retailer to order the item for store pick-up, which may help you save on shipping fees. Or just buy locally in person!


Sign up for alerts. Some carriers offer text or email alerts so that you know when a delivery will be made and can adjust your own schedule accordingly. The U.S. Postal Service, for instance, recently started offering a service called Informed Delivery. Once you’ve filled in your address and other information, you can digitally preview images of your mail and its location without entering tracking numbers. That way you can be sure to be at home if something important is arriving. You can also sign up for text or email notifications through services such as FedEx and UPS, schedule delivery alerts, and request redelivery.


Ask retailers to require a signature to make a delivery so that packages aren’t simply dropped off outside your house.

If your package is stolen

If your package goes missing, there are some steps you should take.


Verify that the package was delivered. Call the shipping company to make sure the item was left at your house or apartment and wasn’t taken on your behalf by someone, such as a well-meaning neighbor or building superintendent. If the package or its contents were stolen or otherwise lost while in the shipping company’s possession, you may be entitled to compensation. Most packages sent by UPS, for instance, are automatically covered for up to $100 in case of loss or damage.


Call the police. It’s a good idea to do this quickly. Reach Asheville Police Department at 828-252-1110. You’ll probably need a police report if you’re making a claim with a retailer, a shipper, a credit card company, or an insurance company.


Contact the retailer. Retailers have different policies on how to handle theft of packages. Some have fine-print clauses saying the risk of loss passes to the buyer when the purchase is delivered to the shipping company.


Contact the shipping company. Shippers often require the sender, not the recipient, to initiate a claim. If the retailer won’t cooperate, contact the shipper as soon as possible. You have a limited number of days to file a claim.


Check your credit card benefits. Many credit cards have purchase protection that covers lost or stolen items. If your purchase was made with a credit card, make a claim with the issuer. If that doesn’t work, request a chargeback from your credit card company.


Check your insurance. As a last resort, you may be able to collect from your homeowners or renters insurance. But those policies usually have deductibles of $500 to $1,000 or more, so depending on the value of the contents in the package, your insurance may not be helpful.