Shortly after shifting into their renovated brownstone in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, on the finish of 2019, Jordan Slocum and Barry Bordelon started experiencing an issue that now consumes many city dwellers: package deal theft.
“It was three or four packages, over the course of a few months,” stated Mr. Bordelon, 40.
The difficulty was compounded when Mr. Slocum and Mr. Bordelon, who work collectively as renovation bloggers and challenge managers underneath the identify Brownstone Boys, started accepting deliveries for a few of their purchasers’ renovations.
“It was becoming quite stressful,” stated Mr. Slocum, 38. “We’d be at meetings and get a UPS notification, and have to leave immediately as we knew there was a thousand dollars’ worth of product sitting on our stoop.”
They weren’t alone. In 2019, an analysis carried out for The New York Times discovered that 1.7 million packages are stolen or go lacking throughout the nation day by day, with 90,000 packages disappearing in New York City alone. In 2020, 43 p.c of respondents to a national survey carried out by C & R Research reported being victims of package deal theft, up from 36 p.c in 2019.
For Mr. Slocum and Mr. Bordelon, it didn’t take lengthy to develop uninterested in planning their lives round deliveries. Searching for an answer, they found ParcelBin (from $695), a lockable parcel supply field made by CitiBin, a Brooklyn-based firm that acquired its begin making enclosures for trash and recycling.
Since putting in the unit in entrance of their brownstone in March of final 12 months, they haven’t needed to fear about porch pirates. And, they routinely suggest the product to their purchasers, lots of whom have bought ParcelBins of their very own.
Liz Picarazzi, the founding father of CitiBin, stated she developed the product after receiving a flood of inquiries from anxious householders. “We had people, primarily in Brooklyn, who had seen the trash enclosures, calling us and asking, ‘Hey, can we use that for package delivery?’” she stated. “Luckily, it was very easy. We just had to change a couple of components.”
The firm launched its ParcelBin in 2018, an enclosure constructed from powder-coated aluminum and composite siding with house for a mixture padlock or an built-in digital lock. In the second half of 2020, as extra individuals did extra buying on-line through the pandemic, Ms. Picarazzi stated, CitiBin’s gross sales of parcel models jumped 70 p.c, in comparison with 2019.
Other corporations make related merchandise in several dimensions and supplies, equivalent to CleverMade’s smaller metal Parcel Lockbox S100 (about $60) and ParcelWirx plastic tubs from RTS Home Accents (from about $122).
Successful implementation of any of those models requires asking supply corporations to make use of them, and sharing the mix. Typically, customers share their mixtures by way of on-line profiles with corporations like Amazon.com, UPS and FedEx.
Marc Weber, a property supervisor at Weber-Farhat Realty Management who beneficial quite a few ParcelBins for a 55-unit co-op in Morningside Heights with an unattended foyer the place packages had been getting stolen, stated there’s a studying curve to getting the system up and working.
“The biggest challenge going into it was the communication and making sure that people were able get the parcels in the bins,” he stated. “As long as residents are very specific with the directions, like ‘Hey, put it in this locker, with this combination,’ then it’s clear,” he stated, and supply corporations are often blissful to oblige.
For those that don’t wish to trouble with codes, some corporations make parcel drop packing containers with an unlocked prime part that deposits packages right into a locked field under when closed, much like the drop packing containers utilized by the Postal Service and supply corporations. The trade-off is that they usually have much less space for storing inside than a equally sized bin with mixture lock.
CitiBin launched one such unit, named ParcelDrop ($445), this previous December. Bob Box is one other made-in-Brooklyn answer (from $275). Other corporations, like Architectural Mailboxes, based mostly in Redondo Beach, Calif., and dVault, based mostly in Colorado Springs, Colo., have been making them for years.
“It comes down to simplicity,” stated Alexander Clark, the advertising director at dVault, which makes a variety of models, together with a heavy-duty curbside Full Service Vault ($899) that may deal with each mail and packages. “Other competitors try to have a locking mechanism with a code; however, you need to get compliance from all these agencies that are used to their ways,” he stated. “We have a simplified security drop door.”
Sales at dVault had been rising about 10 to 15 p.c per 12 months till 2020, Mr. Clark stated, after they jumped about 100 p.c after the pandemic took maintain.
Whether householders select a drop field, choose an extra-large bin or simply add a mixture padlock to a crate they make themselves, having a safe place for packages when nobody’s house is surprisingly liberating, Mr. Bordelon stated.
“I know it sounds crazy, but it’s actually been sort of life-changing,” he stated of his ParcelBin. “It relieves so much stress.”