DC Holiday Package Delivery Safety Guide

‘Tis the Season for festive family gatherings, delightful decorations and…holiday package theft?  We’ve already seen a report on our neighborhood listserv about a thwarted package theft:

I was almost a victim of a package thief just now. I just happened to step into foyer just as a fellow was picking up a parcel from the chair next to our front door and turning to leave with it and he saw me through the window as I approached the door and immediately dropped the parcel and ran off.

There is nothing more disappointing than ordering a special gift for a loved one, receiving that delivery confirmation, and then arriving home to find that package missing or its contents scattered up and down your block.

An Ounce of Prevention

Package theft can be labeled a crime of opportunity; thieves see a lonely package on your step or porch and take a chance that what is inside is worth the risk.  “Professional” thieves have been known to follow the delivery trucks on their routes and scoop up boxes just as quickly as they are delivered!

Delivery companies and police departments across the nation recommend the following steps to protect your packages:

  • Request notifications on your deliveries, via phone or email, to monitor your packages in transit and upon delivery.
  • Consider sending deliveries to an alternate location that someone will be able to receive them – whether that be a workplace, a neighbor or friend’s house, or a FedEx or UPS location.
  • Schedule your delivery for a specific date and time that you’re expected to be home.
  • Set up a vacation hold if you plan on traveling during the holidays so gifts won’t be left on the doorstep.
  • If you find your package has been stolen, reach out to Police and report it immediately.  Don’t rely on the neighborhood listservs to keep your neighbors informed.
  • Always require a signature on your deliveries to ensure packages are never left unattended.  In my experience, you should never rely on a signature requirement; busy delivery workers will ignore any and all instructions and just drop your package anywhere so that they can complete their overloaded routes before midnight.

Amazon Lockers

Holiday Package Safety | DCNorthStar.com | Jennell Alexander, Realtor| 4646 40th St NW Washington, DC 20016 | (703) 298-3378
Amazon Locker locations nearby

Amazon.com customers also have another option which promotes safety and convenience. The online retailer rolled out the Amazon Locker concept six years ago in Seattle, Washington.  Packages are delivered to these automated stations which are located in grocery and convenience stores and other high traffic areas.  Customers receive a special code on their receipts and unlock the lockers in a snap.

There are two Amazon Lockers in the Brightwood area, and several just across the border in Silver Spring.  We’ve used the Amazon locker named “Savannah” inside of the Piney Branch Safeway and had a quick, easy experience retrieving our package.

The Next Level

If you receive a LOT of packages or perhaps run a small business out of your home, you may consider stepping up to the next level of protection: a parcel drop box.  The home design website Houzz recently featured a story on newly available parcel drops that fit into a residential decor. Package Delivery Safety | DCNorthStar.com | Jennell Alexander, Realtor| 4646 40th St NW Washington, DC 20016 | (703) 298-3378
These boxes can be bolted to the ground to prevent the entire appliance from being swiped.

Whatever method of protection you choose, I hope that you have a safe and happy Holiday season.


Jennell Alexander | 4646 40th ST NW Washington, DC 20016 | (703) 298-3378



Jennell Alexander is a wife and mother of two rapidly growing children. She is a licensed Realtor for Keller Williams Capital Properties in the District and Maryland. She is active in her local church and volunteers as a Girls on the Run coach for her neighborhood elementary school.

She believes that leadership is the opportunity to serve others. If you or someone you know has a Real Estate need, she is ready to listen.

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