Beware of Holiday Package Theft

Thieves are on the look-out for your holiday goodies

'Tis the season for thefts.

According to the UPS website, UPS estimates it will deliver 527 million packages in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, surpassing last year's total of 480 million. Those stats do not include other companies shipping packages like the USPS and FedEx.

With so many packages coming and going, it is easy to see how those boxes on the doorstep could become easy targets for criminals.

Some safety tips from Bay Area police:

  • Shop at secure websites that you trust or are well known. You can look for online reviews of the website to help you determine if it’s safe to shop there.
  • Before paying, make sure the website address begins with “https”. The “s” at the end means it’s supposed to be more "secure". It also means the website should encrypt the information it sends.
  • Packages left on a porch or door step are more likely to be stolen. There have been incidents where thieves have followed the delivery truck, waited for the driver to leave the package on the porch or doorstep and then stolen the package.
  • If possible, choose an alternate shipping address. You can send the package to a relative or neighbor who is home during the day and can accept delivery. Or you can send packages to your workplace rather than your home. This will ensure that you receive the package or someone will sign for it if you are not available.
  • Always try to request signature confirmation on deliveries. This will make certain that the delivery person won’t leave the package unattended.
  • Ask the package delivery company to hold the package at their location if you will not be home (many have local delivery centers). Some companies can hold packages for a few days.
  • Some delivery services offer text, email or web based notifications to track your package and let you know when it has been delivered. Check the delivery company’s website for this service.

We continue to ask that you be alert and look out for suspicious people and vehicles in your neighborhood. Be Aware and be Safe!

How do you protect your packages during the holiday season? Tell us in the comments section below.

Winifred Owen November 30, 2012 at 07:34 PM
I have a sign permanently affixed by my front door directing delivery services to leave packages at an alternate entrance. My front porch is only a few steps off the sidewalk, making it an easy opportunity for thieves. The alternate entrance requires one to go farther on my property and up stairs onto another porch, where a "grab-and-run" would not be so easy.
Robert Marshall December 01, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Our postal carrier sees absolutely nothing wrong with folding a hard cardboard mailer into a pretzel, and shoving it into the mailbox, despite it have big black letters three inches tall saying "Do Not Bend. Photos" written on the front so I have little hope he'd listen to anything anyone said. He grumbled something about blaming the Annex's machines. USE FEDEX!! They generally don't leave packages at the front door. Ground is actually cheaper than UPS and something I shipped to Ohio recently was nearly half the cost of what it would have been through USPS Priority Mail as well.
Dover December 02, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Unfortunately, if you mark something "Do Not Bend" it has to actually BE unbendable. Yes, I know this kinda defeats the purpose of marking it in the first place but that is USPS logic for you. I haven't marked anything in years, I just make sure it can withstand anything short of being bent in a vise. I used to say "withstand anything short of being run over by the truck or another wheeled vehicle" but you would be surprised at how often this actually happens so now I assume it will and I pack accordingly. For problems with your mail carrier, or any other postal issue, I recommend calling 1-800-275-8777 (ASK-USPS) and filing a complaint with a CSR. Your complaint will then be forwarded to the pertinent party and once this has occurred, they are obliged to contact you within 24 hours to resolve your issue. You may have to complain twice, or even thrice, but the system can definitely work in your favor. Been there, done that, all is now well.
Vanessa Troyer December 03, 2012 at 04:38 PM
After becoming a victim of parcel theft in 1999 ourselves we decided that we needed to create a receptacle that could receive and protect our parcels being delivered to our home while we were at work. We wanted to be able to shop online without the concern that we would be victimized again. I would like to share with you our solution to protect yourself from being victims of parcel theft. The Elephantrunk Parcel Drop can accept the most commonly sold items online. For more information on The Elephantrunk Parcel Drop by Architectural Mailboxes, please visit our website www.architecturalmailboxes.com. Wishing you successful shopping online, Vanessa Troyer CEO Architectural Mailboxes, LLC


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