Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Front Porch Shoppers

Although they can happen year round, during this time of year thefts of packages always go up due to the amount of items being ordered via the Internet for holiday gift-giving. 
The majority of these packages are delivered straight to the customer’s door, even if no one is home to accept them. Unfortunately, this is also brings out individuals who are looking for crimes of opportunity, the so called “front porch shoppers.” Criminals are known to actually target delivery trucks in neighborhoods. Thieves will follow or watch for FedEx, UPS, USPS and other delivery trucks and target a home after a delivery is made. To reduce the chances of being victimized by package delivery thieves, the Mount Rainier Police Department offers the following advice:

·         Request a signature confirmation of delivery. By doing this, the deliverer will have to wait until you’re available or deliver the package to a neighbor. 

·         Insure valuable items. 

·         Encourage you neighbors to watch for deliveries and agree to secure each other’s packages. This includes being watchful for any stranger who is going onto porches for no apparent reason or following delivery trucks. 

·         Have your package delivered to a location where someone can receive it in person - a neighbor or relative who is usually home; or if your employer allows it, have your packages delivered to you at work. 

·         If it’s an item from a store catalog or website, have it shipped to the store and pick it up.

·         Track packages online to see exactly when they’re sent to your house for delivery. Many shippers and delivery companies offer a text notification to your cell phone when a package has been delivered. 

·         Leave special instructions for where to deliver the packages. A good place is on the side or back of the house, so that the package is out of sight from the road. 

·         Request the shipper to hold your package at their facility. Most offer this service.

·         If you do not receive your shipment on time, check with the company of origin and confirm the delivery. If the item was delivered and you did not receive it, report the theft or loss to the original company, the shipping company, and the Mount Rainier Police Department at 301-985-6565/6566.

·         Many of these crimes occur during broad daylight. As always, be alert about suspicious behavior in your neighborhood, especially if you see a delivery truck making the rounds and a vehicle following behind or unfamiliar subjects on foot. Be prepared to call the MRPD at 301-985-6565/6566 to report this type of suspicious activity; or call 9-1-1 if you observe a crime in progress. Get as much descriptive information as you can about the type of vehicle, color, make/model, license plate info, and if you can, provide descriptive information about the person or persons in the vehicle - age, hair color, clothing description & color, distinguishing features - facial hair, tattoos, height, or anything else you think may help our officers catch them.

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