By: Nathan Dube on June 13th, 2019
Package Theft In The Age Of Amazon
Packaging Materials | The Business of Packaging | Packaging Design | Air Pillows | Shipping Protection | Packaging Psychology
In the age of Amazon, we are seeing more packages being delivered than ever before. With a few clicks of the mouse or a few taps on your phone you can get pretty much anything you want delivered to your door.
However, an unfortunate byproduct of these modern times and innovations is package theft. There is an ever growing epidemic of packages being stolen from people's doorsteps as packages are often left unattended.
How can we stop this trend? Read on to learn how one engineer from NASA took justice into his own hands...
Package Theft Is On The Rise
With the rise of Amazon's ever-growing infrastructure and multiple warehouses throughout the United States, people are getting products delivered to their houses now more than ever. With the company boasting over 100 million paid Amazon prime members, the amount of shipped packages continues to rise.
From cat toys and clothing to video games and kitchen supplies, Amazon is shipping anything and everything they possibly can to their ever-growing customer base. Being able to buy an item with a couple of clicks or right from your phone while saving money over malls, department stores, and other physical retailers have sold millions of people with online convenience.
However, there is an unfortunate trend that is growing alongside the rise of Amazon's customer base. That trend is package theft...
With packages arriving at all hours of the day, oftentimes, customers' orders sit waiting on their doorsteps until their buyer returns home from work. What many customers assume is the non-arrival of their products, is in fact something more sinister...
package theft proliferated by 'porch pirates' is becoming more of a problem with each passing day. With predictable spikes in said piracy around the holidays, many folks are battling an unseen enemy in the attempt to reclaim stolen goods, often to no avail.
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On Deterring Package Theft
While many people are turning to obvious solutions to package theft such as video cameras, automated lighting systems, motion detectors and alarms, one very industrious former employee of NASA decided to take the matter of retribution into his own hands...
Engineer, YouTube personality, and inventor Mark Rober had become quite agitated after being the victim of multiple cases of package thievery. Hoodlums had rolled up to his residence, pilfered his packages, and left Mark high and dry. After getting little help from the police, Mark decided to put his engineering skills to the test and develop his own system of package theft deterrents.
Glitter Bombs coupled with synthetic fart scented spray! Mark created a non-lethal device that was triggered by the opening of the package. The trigger sent an explosion of glitter into the air, completely covering the thieves and their immediate surroundings in sparkly goodness. To add insult to injury, he also rigged the device to spray a synthetic fart scented mist into the air, coating the thief.
From The Verge:
"If you’ve ever had a delivery stolen from the front of your house then you understand the desire for revenge.
That’s exactly the situation YouTuber and former NASA engineer Mark Rober found himself in when a package was swiped from outside of his home. But despite his security cameras catching the thief red-handed, he was told by police that the crime wasn’t worth their time to investigate.
So Rober took matters into his own hands, engineering a package that would shower a future thief with glitter when opened. But while this could have been accomplished with a couple of loaded springs, Rober wanted to be able to film the entire incident as it unfolded. The result is an over-engineered bait package that took six months to develop, and used motion sensors, a GPS tracker, and the combined wide-angle cameras of four mobile phones. It even used fart spray to ensure the thief would throw it away, so that Rober could recover and reuse it."
Needless to say, the 'porch pirates' soon stopped visiting Mark's property. In the video below, you will see how he made the contraption and the hilarious videos that were captured by the device. In it, amazed and confused robbers can be seen and heard reacting to the unexpected contents of the package.
What SHOULD Be Inside A Package?
All joking aside, when you open your package, there should be at least two things contained within. First, the products that you ordered and secondly, some type of flexible package supplies such as air pillows packaging peanuts, or bubble wrap.
When it comes to choosing the right packing supplies for shipping to your customers, of the three choices above, air pillows are perhaps the best choice of the three. Between their lower environmental impact, cost and ability to properly safeguard potentially fragile contents, they are fast becoming the best choice for protecting your products during shipping.
What Is An Air Pillow?
Air Pillows are exactly what they sound like. They are created by filling a pocket made from the plastic film with air. A machine designed to fill them is loaded with a roll of plastic film. Every few inches of the film has an airtight seal. As the film is fed through the machine, each sealed section is filled with air until the pocket is fully loaded.
Air pillows offer excellent protection for packaged products being shipped all over the globe. They are efficient, easy to use, and are more environmentally friendly than other package supplies as they use a reduced amount of material. Furthermore, they save on shipping costs due to the fact they are lighter and use less plastic or petroleum byproducts in their creation.
In the age of Amazon, we all need to be aware of the rising threat of packaging theft. While we may not all turn to engineer our own glitter gas bombs, it is important to be aware of the risks involved with ordering products online.
Utilizing simple technologies such as motion detectors and cameras may help to absolve one from the hazards of packaging theft. Take some time to invest in some increased security for your home. Be sure to safeguard areas where packages will be left while you are away from your house. In the end, these endeavors may save you some trouble down the road.
*This article was updated with new information on 4/16/21
About Nathan Dube
As the Digital Marketing Specialist at Industrial Packaging, I am honored to create content for such a phenomenal company and work with one of the greatest teams in the Packaging Industry. Whether creating a video, writing blog posts or generating other pieces of content and multimedia, I am always excited to help educate and inspire our prospects and clients to reach their highest potential in regards to their packaging processes and needs.