Those who steal deliveries have come to be not-so-affectionately called porch pirates. Unfortunately, our society has become less and less honest, and “normal” people are willing to steal right from your front door. Even though your package may not be anything of worth, porch pirates bank on the off chance of nabbing an iPhone instead of…iron pills and diatomaceous earth.
While big box stores may happily send you a replacement, free of charge, good luck getting that kind of service from an eBay seller or a boutique. If that delivery is marked as “delivered” then smaller sellers wash their hands of you. While I’d lost the odd boutique delivery here and there, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when my front porch table went missing. Yes, you read that right: they didn’t even steal a package, they stole my patio furniture.
My first thought was to get a security camera, but I was already feeling wary of security systems after a Vivint Smart Home salesperson barged into my home and practically forced me to sit through an hour-long aggressive sales pitch. I wanted something simple, that I could install myself, and that wasn’t attached to a crazy service contract. And so I went with Ring, the video doorbell gaining ubiquity in neighborhoods across America.
Before I started losing packages to theft, I thought I should just get a peephole in my front door. My main issue was getting unexpected knocks and not knowing if it was safe to open the door. The Ring’s mobile app has proved to be very useful. I can check who’s at the door from anywhere in my home and still pretend that I’m not at home. Conversely, I can also pretend I’m at home when I’m out and about and talk directly to the visitor through the doorbell.
I already had a few Echo speakers in my home, and using the built-in connectivity is extremely convenient to say something quick such as, “Please drop the package at the door.” Using the Echo Show is even more seamless as you can see, hear, and speak through the Ring without fumbling for your phone.
The most difficult part of my Ring was the installation. To save some dough, I opted for the older Gen 1 model without a rechargeable battery. Without a battery, you’re supposed to connect the Ring to your old doorbell’s wires. This serves as the Ring’s power source (and activates your old doorbell ringer, too). The wires weren’t the problem, but the back bracket was: it had four screws, one on each outside corner. The edge of the bracket extended beyond the installation spot on my door trim, so I had no way to screw in the Ring.
After some YouTube research, I figured out how to make my own holes in the center of the bracket without breaking the plastic. However, I really wish Ring would provide some different bracket options, as it’s cheap plastic after all.
Once you’ve purchased and installed your Ring, you’ll get free access to the Ring Protection Plan. The free version includes:
- Motion-activated notifications
- Real-time video with Live View
- Two-way talk
- Lifetime theft protection
All of these are pretty great features, especially the lifetime theft protection—Ring will send you a free replacement if your Ring is stolen! But if you want a little more security, I highly recommend the extremely affordable ($3 a month) Ring Basic plan:
- Video history for 60 days
- Video saving and sharing
- Snapshot Capture
- Community alerts
I use these additional features all the time! To protect yourself against porch pirating, you need Video History so you can download a video of the theft and report it properly. I’ve even used Video History to prove non-delivery. Ring doesn’t let you delete any videos, so you can show the Ring log to prove that a package was not actually delivered. Unfortunately not all shipping services are honest, and I’ve experienced some “phantom” delivery scans from the USPS.
The community section is the most underrated feature of the Ring. Helping neighbors find lost cats? Check. Letting others know of suspicious activity? Check. Safety information for natural disasters? Check. Entertainment from “part two of the stolen hose caper”? Check check check.
It’s rare that I’m overjoyed with a purchase, but I can honestly say that the Ring just works and it even surprises me with features I didn’t know I needed. I would highly recommend the Ring to anyone looking for an attractive and seamless doorbell security solution.