Would-be thieves who try to steal a parcel from outside a home protected by Package Guard are in for a surprise. The Frisbee-sized device, which is designed to protect unattended deliveries, runs on WiFi, alerting the owner via text or email when a package has been placed on it. Should someone attempt to remove the delivery without entering the correct passcode into the app, a loud alarm will sound to scare the perpetrator and alert neighbors. The Seattle-based Michael Graham, founder of Package Guard, explains how his gizmo could reduce petty crime.
What inspired you to create Package Guard?
- Celebrity deaths 2018: All the stars we lost too soon 45 Pictures
- 10 finalists for TIME Person of the Year 2018 11 Pictures
I had a package stolen that was meant for our nonprofit organization, Survive The Streets.
Did you lose many packages?
We lost a box of coats for our nonprofit that serves the homeless here in Seattle. It took us a few days to determine that the box was stolen and we didn't have a lot of time to reorder them in time for our event.
Why is it important to protect packages?
Package theft affects 23 million Americans each year. Some of the packages contain custom products or keepsakes that are irreplaceable and very expensive to replace.
How does the Package Guard work?
Package Guard is the size of a frisbee. You put in batteries and place it on your porch. It runs on WiFi and alerts you, and anyone you give permission to, via text and email alerts when your delivery arrives. When you're ready to receive the package, you simply respond via the Package Guard app. If someone without permission tries removing your package, a loud alarm will sound, scaring the perpetrator and alerting neighbors.
Can the thief take the packages and the Package Guard at the same time?
It's possible if you don't attach the Package Guard to your porch. However, you can secure the device to a hard surface so it can't easily be moved. Also, if someone attempts to steal your package, the alarm will still be activated, so it would be extremely unlikely that a thief would try to take an alarm device that is going off. Furthermore, only a registered owner can use the device.
What other benefits could this gadget offer in the future?
Knowing where and when packages are being stolen could help police and neighbors prevent future thefts. We are planning to create home surveillance cameras that work with this device.
What do the delivery companies think about this device?
Delivery companies see that this has helped reduce theft and improve customer service. It also takes time for both the customer and the delivery company to fill out paperwork to request a new item when a package is undelivered or stolen, so delivery companies see Package Guard as a way to save both time and money.
Can an alarm really prevent a thief from escaping with a package? Package Guard won't stop all thieves, but it will stop some of them. Package theft is one of the easiest crimes to commit so even if there is some deterrent it could reduce crime overall. Home alarms don't stop thieves from breaking in, but they do help reduce crime. According to Safeguard the World, homes without security systems are up to 300 per cent more likely to be broken into.