You may have seen in the news that people across the country have stolen packages from homes. More deliveries this time of year means more potential thefts.
Three women in Stoneham, Massachusetts, were caught following a delivery truck and then swiping package after package from people's homes (see video at Boston.cbslocal.com). In Connecticut this month, police arrested three people for stealing an entire FedEx truck (see video at Courant.com). One Tennessee woman even had a gift she intended to send stolen from her hands outside of a post office.
Here are a few tips to prevent your deliveries from being stolen.
Since there is always a chance that you won't be home when a package arrives, take extra precautions with big ticket/irreplaceable items. Request that the sender/shipper require a signature upon delivery. While you could ask a neighbor to watch your home, it may be better to provide the delivery company with specific instructions on what to do with the package if you are not home to receive it. "UPS told WAVY.com its drivers are trained to leave packages out of site, but without special instructions drivers drop them off and move on to the next stop" (WAVY.com).
You should track your deliveries. Both UPS and FedEx have free programs that allow you to reroute a delivery, after shipping, to their nearest shipping facility.
It might be good to avoid home delivery, especially if you are rarely home during the day. Besides a shipping center, consider the possibility of sending items to your workplace or a local store from which you ordered. If none of these alternates is suitable, it may be time to consider a security camera with remote storage.
Here are a few other precautions you may want to adopt.
Tips for preventing mail theft:
Johnson, Nikie, "Mail Theft: Tips for not Becoming a Victim," Blog.pe.com, 12-4-2012.
Tips for preventing charity fraud:
Federal Trade Commission, "Avoid Charity Fraud," FTC.com, 2-2-2012.
Safety tips for home and around town:
Crepeau, Jr., Normand, "Chief's Column: Crime Prevention During the Holidays," Grafton.dailyvoice.com, 12-6-2012.
Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, "Crime Prevention Tips for the Holidays," TTPS.gov.tt, accessed 12-12-2012.
Lincoln Police Department, "Holiday Crime Prevention Tips," lincoln,ne.gov, accessed 12-12-2012.
Once you have your deliveries safely inside your home, don't leave them in front of your picture window, and don't set the box for the new, big screen TV next to the trash can. Break it down and dispose of it or recycle it. Play it safe. Don't provide anyone with the opportunity to redeliver your gifts to another home. Make things a little difficult and possible thieves will generally go on down the road.
- Leamanczyk, Lauren, "Thieves Caught Stealing Christmas Gifts from Stoneham Home," Boston.cbslocal.com, 12-4-2012.
- Newell, Dave, "How to Ensure Cyber-Monday Buys Don't Get Stolen," Cerritos.patch.com, 11-27-2012.
- WAVY.com, "Tips for Safe Cyber Shopping Delivery," Wavy.com, 11-27-2012.
UPDATE: Caught on video...A UPS employee had to trade his brown uniform for an orange jumpsuit when caught stealing a package that had been delivered by FedEx.