Smart Home

Smart home devices to protect your packages

As deliveries begin to roll in for the holiday season, it’s prime time for porch pirates to swipe unprotected packages off of doorsteps.

This year, 64% of people say they plan to do all or most of their holiday shopping online, according to a recent survey. The same survey found that 26% of Americans have had a package stolen from their doorstep. Many of these thefts are not reported to law enforcement, according to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Fortunately, there are several smart home devices on that market that allow you to monitor deliveries from your phone.

WHAT Arlo Video Doorbell

THE COST $79.99 (wired), $149.99 (wireless)


Connected buzzers work in much the same way as traditional security cameras. The hardwired Arlo Video Doorbell has high-definition resolution, a live video feed, motion alerts and more for a super reasonable price. Subscribe to the Arlo Smart cloud service for access to advanced motion alerts that differentiate between people, animals, cars and packages. You can also look back at your video footage with Arlo Smart to help neighbors and law enforcement (if necessary) identify who snagged your holiday deliveries.

WHAT Ring Spotlight Cam

THE COST $139.99


Integrated porch light-security cameras are an emerging smart home security category. The Ring Spotlight Cam, the Netatmo Outdoor Security Camera and the Ring Floodlight Cam all combine smart lighting with smart video monitoring. With each of these devices, you can watch a live video feed, receive motion alerts and talk to people via two-way audio intercoms. But you can also program the lights to turn on and off at set times.

The Spotlight Cam even has a 110-decibel siren, so you can scare someone away when needed.

WHAT BoxLock



In addition to outdoor cameras and in-home delivery services, select companies offer smart locks and storage options for your packages. BoxLock is a smart padlock that works with a related BoxLock app.

Here’s how it works: A BoxLock delivery partner uses the lock to scan the package bar code. The lock unlocks and they secure your delivery inside a storage container (sold separately) until you can get home and retrieve your package. UPS, FedEx, Amazon Prime and USPS are BoxLock partners.

The following CNET staff contributed to this story: former CNET staff member David Priest, senior writer and editor Megan Wollerton and copy editor Jim Hoffman. For more reviews of personal technology products, visit



Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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