Shoreline Police: How to avoid package thieves

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Shoreline Police offer this advice for citizens as the best prevention and advice for avoiding package theft.

1) If you have a neighbor that you know stays home, ask them to keep an eye out for your package. Have them pick it up when it arrives.

2) Track your package online so you know exactly when it will be there. Many carriers offer text alerts for package delivery.

3) Have high dollar value items require a signature.

4) Make use of alternate controlled, delivery sites or “lockers” if possible. Amazon offers their Amazon Locker locations that are all over the greater Puget Sound region. Fed-Ex and UPS both offer package re-direction, alternate address delivery, or in store pick-up (UPS locations).

5) If you are the one staying home or work from home, watch out for your neighbors’ packages. Be alert, and call 911 if you see a suspicious person or car taking packages.

If you have security cameras, or if you actually see the thieves, this is the information that the police need:

  • Any vehicle description, license plate, make and model of the car is helpful.
  • Number of occupants of the car, if they can tell.
  • If they are riding a bike, color, style, size, type of handlebars, anything distinctive.
  • If the person is on foot, physical description and clothing description.
  • What direction were they going?
  • Are they alone?

Video footage is useful, say the police, depending on what it shows. You are advised to hold on to it until you are told by an officer that it isn’t needed. Officers are oftentimes able to get a lot of detail out of the video footage.


Unknown December 21, 2017 at 7:53 PM  

Re: #2, FedEx delivered one of my packages a day early, which happened to be a day that I was out all day. It was stolen. When the replacement was shipped, FedEx attempted delivery on two separate occasions that was 2-3 hours earlier than their text indicated and, even though I specified a particular (side) door, they still attempted delivery at the same place that my initial package was stolen. Before a third time, I switched to having the package delivered to a Walgreen’s store, as I know that if they fail to deliver a third time, one has to travel to their office down by the King County Airport the last time I made this error, not convenient!!! At least for half of my deliveries, the delivery person did not leave a post-it note that they attempted delivery, and at least that often they don’t ring the bell or knock. One time, I heard the thud of the package hitting the pavement in front of my home. One said they’d send someone out to investigate, and I’ve yet to hear the outcome.

Re: #3, I was not given the option of requiring a signature. Fortunately, the shipper added this provision.

Re: #4, this is a great idea, but prepare for some time and effort to locate the option on the applicable shipper’s website.

Re: #5, be alert when you see an unfamiliar vehicle following a delivery truck, for that’s the common M-O of a package thief.

Cameras can help, but make sure you get those that are night vision. You’ll be fortunate if you have one pointing in a place or able to pick up the details outlined in this article, with the exception of their being on foot. Do consider which direction(s) they might approach and depart, ideally with a camera for each or most. Be sure to save the video (e.g., emailing it to yourself) before that footage gets overwritten.

There’s also a product called Package Guard that can notify you whenever a package is placed on its disc-like surface and, if it’s removed without your intervention, a high-pitched alarm goes off. The surprise from this alarm might either cause the thief to up and run or to steal your package even faster.

Lastly, package thievery is not just a holiday event. I had one package stolen in late September, the other unaccounted for one in late October. Given that more people seem to be getting packages delivered and that delivery services don't always knock, post a note, deliver when they say they will, etc., and that it's a low priority crime, my feeling is that this crime is on the upswing.

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