Tips to Prevent Package Theft

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First District officers recovered these items after arresting a package thief last October. Image Courtesy: MPD First District List Serv

Christmas on the Hill means trees decked out in ornaments, and stoops covered in packages. While MPD has had some success lately at catching package thieves, an ounce of prevention could be worth tons in joy from holiday gifts.

How can you help prevent your package from Amazon, UPS, FedEx, USPS, eBay or a grandparent from being stolen right off your front stair?  With help from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) we provide some package theft solutions below to help prevent deliveries from being stolen as those Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals start rolling in.

  1. Use Smart Package Lockers

To avoid theft of your Amazon package, you can use Amazon Locker. Amazon allows you to pick up your delivery in Amazon Locker in selected locations across the country with a unique code, which you can punch into the machine to retrieve your package. There are lockers at the 7-11 on Pennsylvania (637 Pennsylvania Ave SE), Whole Foods on H Street (600 H St. NE & 100 H St. SE) and Southwest and Maryland Avenue Safeway Stores (1100 Fourth St. Sw & 1600 Maryland Ave NE) but you can find one online –don’t forget to search near the office, if that’s convenient. You can also deliver to The UPS Store.

  1. Have Packages Delivered to Your Workplace/Office or to a Friend

Package thieves have been known to sneak around the street and loot drop-off deliveries, and sometimes even when you’re at home, mailman or carriers might leave packages on the front door without knocking or ringing the doorbell. Community members have complained that carriers have signed delivery slips without consent, or delayed home delivery by sending notifications too early. You could try having your package delivered to your office or or to the home of a trusted friend who is usually home. Bonus: great way to preserve holiday surprises!

  1. Install Security Cameras

Security cameras pointing at your front door, hallway or driveway can serve as a great deterrent for criminals and help to prevent package theft. A visible HD security camera on a front door captured a package theft in broad daylight, providing leads to investigators. If you’re considering purchase, buy security cameras that are at least 1440p. Optical zoom and high-resolution surveillance cameras can help with a positive identification when package theft happens. Don’t forget that DC has a security camera rebate program that can help offset the cost of equipment.

  1. Require Signature on Delivery

To prevent your package being stolen off the front porch, side door, back porch, or garage area, ask for signature delivery.  If your package is delivered by UPS/DHL/FedEx, consult your sender and require delivery confirmation.

5. Get Notifications on Delivery

Most delivery services will also notify you when delivery is successful, including Amazon, UPS and yes, the good old US Postal Service. If you’re out doing some local shopping or grabbing coffee, it can clue you to your need to hurry home or text a neighbor (or your spouse upstairs) to grab it for you. We know: carriers have signed delivery slips without consent, or delayed home delivery by sending notifications when packages aren’t there. Knowing the moment it should be on the step will help determine if you should call the police or complain to Amazon.

6. Try the Boxlock

It’s a brand new invention, so jury is still out, but it’s a great idea. Boxlock is a padlock with a built-in scanner and corresponding app. Delivery personnel scan your package to open a storage box (sold separately) and keep packages out of site. Deliveries are then updated to the app. It’s available online for $129.99.

Keep Your Eyes Out

Lastly, if you see something, say something! Call or text MPD whenever something seems out of place, officers say. “If you see someone lurking around, looking in cars or looking at front doors of houses,” wrote First District Captain Aubrey Mongal on a community list serv, “we would love to know what you see in our communities.”

Call MPD Command Information Center at (202) 727-9099. Text MPD information, photos or video on the Text Tip Line at 50411. If you see an emergency, call 911.