ESSEX – With the holiday season fast approaching and more people shopping for gifts, Chief Paul Francis and the Essex Police Department would like to provide tips to prevent theft for residents expecting package deliveries in the coming weeks.
According to the National Neighborhood Watch, nearly one in four adults in the United States has reported having a package stolen at least once.
The Essex Police Department wishes to share the following tips from the National Neighborhood Watch to help prevent package theft:
- Consider getting a P.O. box at your local post office or having packages delivered to your office
- Set up notifications to track your packages
- Install a security camera in the area(s) outside your home where packages may be delivered
- Require a signature upon delivery to ensure packages are never left unattended
- Reschedule delivery or ask for a package hold when on vacation
- Research potential home security technology and locking device options to protect and monitor packages
- Ask your neighbors to grab your packages for safekeeping until you return home
- Sign up for the USPS “Informed Delivery” service, where you can get a daily email with a picture/scan of the mail you will receive that day. To sign up, click here.
If you believe you have fallen victim to package theft, you should do the following:
- Confirm with your delivery company that your package was actually delivered
- Identify which package was stolen and what the contents of that package were
- Contact the police immediately and report your package as stolen
- If you have a security camera on your home, give a copy of the video to police
- Report the package theft to the applicable carrier:
Should you happen to witness package theft, do not approach the suspect. Instead, pay attention to what their vehicle looks like and its license plate number. If possible, get a physical description of the suspect to share with the police.
Residents should note that around the holidays mail carriers such as Amazon and FedEx contract independent carriers to help deliver items during the peak season. These independent carriers typically drive their own vehicles that have no affiliation markers. Residents should be mindful of these individuals who are oftentimes mistaken as thieves when dropping off packages on behalf of carriers or delivery companies. As always, though, if you see suspicious activity in your neighborhood report it to the police immediately.
Chief Francis would also like to offer tips to holiday shoppers on how to avoid any incidents or theft while shopping in stores and online:
- As more people are on the road during the holiday season, be sure to drive carefully. Be patient when looking for a parking space. Do not speed up in a parking lot to catch an empty spot. Look for other cars or people when backing out of a parking space, and back out slowly.
- Keep shopping bags out of plain sight in your vehicle, preferably in your trunk.
- Keep your purse close to your body or your wallet in an inside coat pocket or front pants pocket.
- Save your receipts and monitor your credit card activity.
- When shopping online, stick to retailers you know or have shopped with before.
- Do not use public Wi-Fi to make purchases in order to prevent hackers from intercepting your information.
The men and women of the Essex Police Department wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday season!