Meet the smart sensor which stops porch package thieves in their tracks

Could a sensor-laden plate deter drive-by thieves from pinching your parcels?
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Many of us have been there.

We've gone to work, aware that a package is due and will be waiting for us when we get home. Upon arrival, nothing is there -- but delivery records show the parcel has exchanged hands.

Unfortunately for you, your awaited item has ended up in the wrong pair of hands, thanks to spontaneous theft.

It's not just your homegrown thief that might swipe your package from the porch -- CCTV footage has shown delivery men sometimes have sticky fingers, too.

How to prevent drive-by stealing is a problem. Unless you have a safe box, packages left out for all to see are at risk of being pinched, and culprits often get away scot-free.

However, Mike Grabham decided to do something about this problem. Along came "The Package Guard," a frisbee-sized sensor which you place by your front door. Emblazoned with the note "Place package here," the device's sensors then detect when a package is placed on the plate.

In order to remove the package without setting off a shrill car-like alarm, you need to reply to either a text message or email sent to your phone alerting you to the delivery. If someone else attempts to pinch your package, the alarm sets off -- hopefully deterring the would-be thief from taking your parcel.

In the future, Grabham hopes to integrate the system with surveillance cameras, so thieves will also be caught on camera at the moment they try to grab your items.

The developer said:

"We know the Package Guard works and we are on track for this to be successful. Two main reasons leading to our success are; one, it is a straight forward product, we are using existing technologies to deliver the solution, we are not trying any new technologies that have not already been 100 percent tested and two, the device has only a few moving parts so the complexity is greatly reduced, making it easier to manufacture."

It's an interesting idea, although you have to wonder whether the bolder breed of thieves would simply take the device with them too. If the alarm scares off even one thief, however, the investment might be worth it.

At the time of writing, the project's Kickstarter campaign has reached $3,800 of a $45,000 goal.

Top gadgets and apps to protect your mobile devices

Read on: Top picks

Editorial standards