SEATTLE – The holidays are only a few weeks away and that means crooks will soon be on the hunt for packages to steal.
Now Amazon is touting a new service that could stop thieves by delivering packages to the inside of your home.
But a local security expert warns that allowing strangers into your house could open up more possibilities for you to get ripped off.
“I was home at the time, that’s the crazy thing,” said Scott Ralls.
Edmonds Police say a person walked up to Ralls’ front porch and helped themselves to a freshly delivered package.
“They tore open the box, you know, in my driveway, went through it and they still took it,” said Ralls.
Every holiday season Q13 News airs images of crooks getting away with homeowners' presents.
“You can tell even though lots of people have videos, these thieves are brazen,” said Pierce County sheriff’s Detective Ed Troyer. “They go up to right up to the porch, steal packages and leave. And if they’re doing it at one house, they’re doing it at many.”
But this year Amazon may have come up with a new way to foil crooks. Called Amazon Key, delivery drivers deliver packages to the inside of your home, instead of leaving them on the porch.
The new service, available next month, requires a new smart lock and a livestreaming surveillance camera.
“It’s a big gamble for that convenience,” security expert Jerold McGlothlin told Q13 News.
McGlothlin is president of Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound and CEO at 25/7 Protection.
He says while the new service could be a convenience, people should think twice.
“Anybody who’s ever been robbed will tell you: it’s one thing to have something stolen, it’s another thing to have something stolen inside your personal residence,” he said.
Amazon told Q13 News it runs rigorous background checks on employees, but McGlothlin says homeowners could instead enjoy peace of mind and save money by installing a secure lockbox on their front porch.
“Lock a package up in a lockbox like we used to do with milk, but nobody used to steal the milk.”
Some people told Q13 News they love Amazon’s new idea, and feel comfortable having packages delivered inside their homes.
“No,” said Ralls. “I’ve got real trust issues now.”
But Ralls says he’s not comfortable allowing strangers inside after his kids’ toys were stolen.
“You’re really inviting people into a very personal space,” he said. “I don’t even like door-to-door salesmen. We keep them on the porch, we don’t need them in the house.”
Amazon Key is available to Prime users in Seattle and more than 30 other cities across the country. The cost for the smart lock and camera starts round $250.