On the Beat with Lt. Schoeppner

Stacks of packages at a door decorated for the holidays.As we move into the holiday season, I have no doubt that the ongoing pandemic will continue to impact us. During normal times this is when I remind everyone of the crime spikes that always seem to accompany the holidays. When folks are out shopping for the holidays it creates more opportunities for criminals. This year I think the main difference will be that online shopping will attract even more attention than it has in the past. The downside of this is that porch piracy will likely rise to an all-time high, as well. This month, we’ll talk about some ideas to keep your Christmas presents from being a porch pirate’s booty.

For those of you that don’t know, a “porch pirate” is simply a criminal that steals delivered packages from the front porch of unwitting victims. The most typical scenario is that the thief will follow delivery trucks and watch for them to make stops. Sometimes thieves will just cruise through residential neighborhoods looking for targets. Knowing this, there are several ways to avoid being a victim. In no particular order these are:

  • Having your package held to be picked up at the courier’s counter. Most of the big delivery services (USPS, UPS and FedEx) have an option for you to have your package held at their hub. This means that it would be up to you to go to the post office or local hub to pick it up. The convenience of this tends to depend on how far you happen to live from one of these places.
  • Another similar option is to have your package delivered to a locker. This is where local businesses have agreements with couriers to keep delivery lockers at their property. Two of these which I know of around Tucker are at QuikTrip and Walgreen’s. There tend to be more of these locations, which increases the chance one may be near your home.
  • A third option is having the package delivered to your home, but investing in some sort of security measure. “Ring” cameras tend to be the most common option, but there are others. This is probably the least secure option. A camera may act as a deterrent, but could just as easily not. Cameras also have the benefit of potentially providing an image of the suspect. This doesn’t necessarily help us identify criminals, but can be useful once we have identified a suspect.

The final thought I’ll leave you with is to say that none of these options is foolproof. We have plenty of reports where deliveries have been stolen from hubs and third-party lockers. The sad truth is that if someone wants your stuff badly enough, they will likely get it. Luckily for us, criminals tend to look for easy targets. The idea is to take enough precautions to make it not worth the thief’s time.

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