District Attorney News
As your District Attorney, I’m committed to increasing communication and accessibility between the DA’s Office and you, the community. One way I have been doing that is through this monthly column, where I provide consumer tips on public safety matters.
As the holiday shopping season nears, you may be focused on the fact that there are only three weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. With a shorter time period to shop this season, it’s likely that more consumers will rely on online shopping. While that’s great for online retailers and for the economy, it can also be a boon for porch pirates.
Nearly 26 million Americans reported they had packages stolen in 2017 according to a study. With online sales unlikely to slow down, it is more important than ever to know how to stop and prevent porch theft.
Here are some steps you can take to help prevent package theft:
- Schedule your package to be delivered when you are home.
- If this is not possible, consider having packages delivered to your workplace.
- Use a lockbox service such as Amazon Locker, UPS Access Point, or rent a P.O. Box.
- Use tracking services to know the time and date of your package arrival. Tracking services are typically provided free of charge by UPS, FedEx, and the USPS.
- Install a camera to monitor your front door.
- Leave detailed instructions for the delivery person. For example, you might include leaving your package under a porch couch pillow to have it hidden from view.
- Insuring your packages guarantees that even if your package is stolen, you can obtain a refund or identical replacement.
- Finally, if all else fails, buy your product the old-fashioned way from a brick-and-mortar store or order online for an in-store pickup.
Following the tips above will increase your chances of receiving your package safely. Despite our best precautions, however, there are still times when things go wrong. So what do you do when your package is stolen?
Here’s what you should do if your package is missing:
- First, check around the outside of your home to make sure the delivery person didn’t place your package in a hidden spot.
- Check with your neighbors to see if your package wasn’t accidentally delivered to them.
- Check for attempted delivery notices.
- If your package remains missing, contact the shipping carrier to confirm delivery and to report the stolen packages.
- Contact the online seller to report the stolen package as well. Often times, online sellers like Amazon or Walmart can resend your purchased item at no cost if stolen.
- Some home insurance policies cover stolen packages but will usually only do so if they are valued above $500.
- Finally, submit an online theft report with your local police agency.
As consumers continue to opt for online shopping, the possibility that your goods may be stolen becomes more of a prospect. Following the tips above might give you a better sense of security that your package will be delivered to your front door instead of into the hands of a thief.
—District Attorney Summer Stephan has dedicated more than 29 years to serving justice and victims of crime as prosecutor. She is a national leader in fighting sex crimes and human trafficking and in creating smart and fair criminal justice solutions and restorative justice practices that treat the underlying causes of addiction and mental illness and that keep young people from being incarcerated.