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Packages are going missing from my building's lobby. What can I do?

It may be time to improve your building's security. 

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Question:

Packages keep disappearing from my building's lobby. Who is responsible? What can we do to address the issue? And does my apartment insurance cover the loss?

Answer:

Encouraging your building's management to improve security is the most effective way to deal with this, our experts say. And with the holidays looming, it's a good idea to tackle your disappearing package problem now. 

First, management should send a reminder to all residents to be mindful of who might be following them into the building.

"If the packages are being left in the common areas internal to the building, behind a locked door but in the hallway, we have to make sure that all residents are aware that they should not let anyone into the building who they do not recognize and to not just allow anyone who buzzes in," says Mark Levine, principal of property management firm EBMG

And installing security cameras in and around the lobby won't hurt, Levine adds, if only to identify who is taking packages after the fact (which is perhaps a good route if you suspect one of the neighbors may be to blame.) 

Even better would be for management to create a dedicated space to hold residents' packages. 

"Some buildings opt to have locked package rooms that can be accessed via key, key fob, or electronically through a third party service, such as Cyber Doorman," Levine says. "The service in this case will monitor the person coming in to drop off the package, and then out of the package room, ensuring that it is secure upon their departure."

In fact, many New York City buildings have created package rooms not only to prevent theft but also to accommodate the growing number of deliveries that residents receive, according to the New York Times

Another option, if your management is not willing to make the investment in a package room, is to have your packages sent elsewhere, whether to your workplace, a P.O. box, or a service like Amazon Locker

You can also file a claim with your apartment insurance, though depending on the value of your missing packages, you may not find it worthwhile to do so. 

"Apartment insurance would typically cover this as a presumed theft," says Jeffrey Schneider, president of Gotham Brokerage (a Brick sponsor). "However, your deductible would apply, and you might choose not to put in a claim to make a minimal recovery."


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