“Porch pirates” take pause. A smart appliance designed to guard against the theft of packages is making its U.S. debut in Seattle in the hope that disappearing deliveries can be curbed this holiday season.
The Danby Parcel Guard smart mailbox is an anti-theft device that looks a bit like a small refrigerator. Delivery drivers can access a drop slot, and packages are then dropped into a secure compartment, where they can be retrieved via Wi-Fi connectivity using a smartphone app.
The product from Danby Appliances is available for $449 on the Danby website or for $399 on Amazon. Best Buy, Costco, Home Depot and Wayfair are also selling Parcel Guard.
Seattle was chosen as the U.S. launch market because of the city’s high rate of package thefts. Danby said in a news release that more than 25 million packages are stolen from homes nationwide each year, and that the Seattle area ranks No. 2 in Google searches for “Amazon package stolen.” The item is also launching in Vancouver, B.C.
“With Cyber Monday deliveries right around the corner, we are excited to now be available in Seattle and to help protect all the gifts people are ordering for family and friends,” Danby CEO Jim Estill said in a statement. “Our goal is for Parcel Guard to give people peace of mind in knowing that we are helping keep their parcels safe and secure — whether it’s a gift, keepsake, medication or anything else that’s being delivered.”
Parcel Guard is billed as a better alternative than home security cameras, which just catch a thief walking away with your delivery, Danby said. The device weighs about 50 pounds, is made of industrial-grade plastic and can be bolted to the ground for additional security. It features a tamper alarm which emits a car-style horn and sends a notification to the app and there is also a motion-activated camera and two-way voice communication.
Stopping package theft is a huge concern in the age of increased online shopping. Seattle-based Package Guard, for instance, created a frisbee-sized device to alert home owners when a package has been placed on top of it — or removed without permission.