Thieves Stealing Packages from Homes; How to Protect Your Deliveries
The holiday shipping season creates plenty of opportunities for package thieves. Read on to find out how you can make sure your package ends up in your hands and not someone else's.
Between last-minute online shoppers and long-distance gift givers, it's no secret that late December is a peak time for package deliveries, but the increase in activity also makes it a busy time for package thieves.
In Lake View, 10 thefts from a residential porch or hallway were reported in November and four so far in December, according to the Chicago Data Portal. Just one of those thieves were arrested.
In comparison, during that same time frame, 259 general thefts were reported in the community with 23 reported arrests.
"We know that it's a greater possibility now, simply because there are more packages being left and more customers expecting packages," said Mark Reynolds, a United States Postal Service spokesperson for the Chicago area. "So people will think they might be able to get away with something."
What steps can people take to ensure that their packages end up in their hands even if they aren't home to greet the carrier?
Reynolds recommends that postal customers make arrangements with neighbors or relatives if they know they won't be home when a package arrives. He suggested either having packages shipped to a location where someone will be available to receive them—such as a relative's home or a work address—or leaving special instructions for the carrier to leave the package with a neighbor or in another secure location.
Area residents are also reporting stolen packages on community message board EveryBlock.
Special delivery instructions can be submitted online via the USPS website, but mail carriers may choose to post a notice that a package is available for pickup at a post office instead of leaving it unattended.
"Sometimes we may choose not to leave them, if we don't think it's the best idea," Reynolds said.
For packages that aren't being shipped by the USPS, representatives from other carriers also had some package safety and security tips to share.
UPS spokesperson Dan McMackin said via e-mail that UPS drivers are trained to leave packages in places that are away from public sight and inclement weather, and that customers can submit detailed delivery instructions online. He also said customers could choose to have their packages shipped to a specific UPS Store location, which will notify them via text message or e-mail when they're ready for pickup.
FedEx spokesperson Sharon Young said via e-mail that shippers can check a box on the shipment form to require a signature for delivery, meaning that carriers wouldn't leave the package unattended at all. She also said packages could be shipped to FedEx Office stores, and that customers can go online and redirect a package to a store while it is en route.