'Tis the season to be jolly. And 'tis also the season to be careful.
That's the advice police all over the state and country are giving after receiving reports of thieves stealing gift packages off of front porches.
Police ask people to be extra cautious because of the simple nature of these crimes. It doesn't take much more than the fearlessness of a thief to steal a package in broad daylight. And with an increase of people ordering items online, thieves are taking advantage.
On Tuesday, WTNH News 8, the CT ABC News affiliate, reported on thefts of thousands of dollars worth of packages in New Haven, Hartford and Bristol.
Such thefts are preventable, says Lt. Bryan Cammarata, spokesman for the Naugatuck Police Department.
"The biggest thing people can do is request a signer to sign for the package," he said. "If people are not home, maybe they can have a trusted neighbor sign for it. I know it's not convenient for people who work, but it's the single best way to prevent these types of thefts."
Other advice he gives is to have the driver put a package somewhere inconspicuous, such as a back deck or a shed. Or, he said, ask that the package be delivered to your work if your company will allow that.
In researching this subject, we've noticed that Patch sites all over the country have reported on similar incidents in which packages were targeted.
The following advice, which is applicable to anyone, was (we didn't include those that overalap with Cammarata's advice):
- Track delivery status online. Many retailers have this online feature, and some will send an alert to your cell phone when items have been delivered.
- If you know you will not be at home to receive the package, leave a note with special instructions asking the delivery service to leave the package with a trusted neighbor.
- Or last resort, have the delivery service hold your package for customer pick-up.
- If you do not receive your package on time, check with the retailer to confirm the delivery. If it was delivered and you did not receive it, report the loss to the retailer, the delivery service and to law enforcement.
- If you see a delivery truck making the rounds in your neighborhood, be alert! Report anything that might seem out of place or suspicious such as a vehicle following behind a delivery truck or unfamiliar persons walking in the area.