Tis the season for package thieves and robberies!
Many metropolitan areas traditionally see a sharp spike in property crimes around the holiday season. Enterprising thieves know this time of year that a lot of people have their guards down and are ordering packages a plenty to be delivered to their unguarded doorsteps.
An estimated 11 million homeowners have had a package stolen in the last year, according to a Shorr Package Theft Report. Another report states that about 41 percent say they have avoided some purchase online for fear of package theft.
Craigslists bandits also strike heavily around this time. In this type of crime, suspects use online platforms to lure victims to meet them at locations to purchase or sell an item and when the victim arrives, a pre-staged robbery occurs.”
Local police departments have been proactive to stay one step ahead of the crooks and to offer safe alternatives for residents in their respective jurisdictions.
For example, in DC and the suburb of Montgomery County, local police departments serve as “exchange zones” which areas that “serve as a safe place for residents and visitors to exchange and complete transactions of online purchases.
Police stations have also teamed up with package delivery services and the US Postal services to allow packages to be left with them. With the advent of Amazon lockers, people can safely have packages delivered at one of several thousand locker drop off locations and pick them up at a convenient time after work with the use of a QRC code or number when the package is ready for pick up!
Here is some friendly advice to try to not become a victim of both of these common crimes:
For Craigslist Robbers:
- Always meet the buyer or seller at an exchange zone that is well populated, well lit, and preferably at a designated police exchange zone.
- Tell a friend or family member where you’re going to meet someone and when possible, take a friend with you.
- Inform the buyer/seller that you will not be alone.
- Trust your instincts – if it sounds like a scam or too good to be true, it probably is.
- Do not invite strangers into your home.
- Never give out any personal or financial information.
For Package Thieves:
- Have you or someone greet the delivery person
- Have a trusted neighbor or friend pick up the package
- If possible, have it delivered to your office
- Make arrangements with the carrier or retail to hold the package
Good luck surviving the season!