Earlier this week, one of our West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports featured video of a package thief, carrying the loot down the street. So what can you do to prevent, or at least deter, someone like him? The newest newsletter from the Southwest and South Precincts‘ Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon answers that question (ADDED AT END – a new reader report of local package theft):
Package thefts are crimes of opportunity. Thieves will follow or watch for FedEx, UPS, US Mail and other delivery trucks and then target a home after a delivery is made. Often packages are simply left at the doorstep of the home and in plain view of the street. Package thefts from doorstops and front porches during the day usually increase between the months of October and January. There are steps you can take to be proactive in keeping your package safe from theft. To reduce the chances of being victimized by package delivery thieves, we offer the following advice:
Tracking and Delivery
*Track your shipment: All of the major delivery companies offer package tracking, some providing free alerts letting you know where your package is in the shipping process.
*Choose a shipping option that requires you to sign for delivery.
*Arrange to have the package shipped to another location where someone can receive it. This could be your workplace, a friend or relative’s home, with a trusted neighbor, the leasing office at your apartment complex or even the local “mailbox” business that may agree to accept shipment of your item for a fee.
*Ask the delivery service to hold your package for customer pick-up at their local shipping facility.
*You can buy locking bins that your packages can be stored in safely until you return home to retrieve them. You just give the key code to the delivery company so they can store the package and use your key code to retrieve it. While locking bins are an option, it is recommended you bolt the locking bin down so that it can’t be carted away. Also, be mindful that these locking bins run $500-$800 on average.
*If none of the above are viable options, at the very least request the package be placed in a discrete location not visible from the street.
Package Not Received or You Suspect Theft
*If you do not receive your shipment on time, check with the company of origin and confirm the delivery. If something you ordered cannot be located, contact the sender of the package to initiate a trace process. The sender will then follow up with you on the progress of your shipment.
*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 Seattle Police Department’s non-emergency line at 206-625-5011.
*Many package thefts occur during daylight hours. As always, be alert to 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 or on your neighbor’s property. Be prepared to call 911. Your calls do have an impact on crime and criminals.
Delivery Company Liability
*Once the package has been delivered, whether signed for or not, it’s no longer the shipping company’s responsibility. Bottom line, if the package is stolen after delivery, that’s on you, not them; the delivery company is not liable.
Also in this newsletter – which you can read in its entirety here as a PDF – advice on how to handle problem neighbors.
ADDED: Regarding package theft – this reader report from Beef came in today:
Someone stole a package off my porch yesterday afternoon around 1ish. I live near 9th and Kenyon in HP. My neighbor saw the guy doing it. Lanky white guy, no shirt, in a white SUV. I believe he got the license plate number. He called it in to the police. Officer Clouse came out and put together an incident report. #2015-342277.