LITTLETON, CO — Online shopping has reached an all-time high due to the coronavirus pandemic and package thieves are taking advantage of the extra deliveries in Littleton and across the country.
The Littleton Police Department has posted a video to help residents keep their holiday deliveries safe.
"Package theft has always been an issue, but with the holiday season upon us, we're seeing a rise in this criminal activity," said Sergeant Tim Kampman with the Littleton Police Department.
"Packages left unattended, that are visible from the street, can be gone in a matter of seconds."
While the department has stepped up patrols of residential areas, Kampman said officers "can't monitor every package."
The department and the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office are offering the following tips for theft prevention:
Don’t leave your mail or parcels unattended — especially overnight.
Be a buddy — help a neighbor in need. If you have a stay-at-home neighbor, enlist their help or put a hold on your mail at the post office.
Consider an alternate shipping address. Some employers will allow you to ship small amounts of personal items to your work location. Inquire whether your employer will allow you to do so, and plan your shipment accordingly.
It’s 3 p.m.; do you know where your package is? The United States Postal Service provides real-time tracking for a wide-range of products. UPS and Fedex also offer similar features.
Customize your delivery. Fedex, UPS, and The United States Postal Service all offer options to require a signature upon delivery, change the time and location of a delivery, or hold a package until you are able to receive it. USPS even allows you to redirect most packages while in transit. There is a fee associated with some of these services.
Install security cameras on your residence. Surveillance video and images help law enforcement catch mail thieves and bring them to justice, but most thieves know to stay away from homes with visible security cameras.
More than 5.5 million Americans have been victimized by package thefts over the past year, according to Finder, a personal finance comparison website, in a study released in November.
About $5.4 billion worth of items were stolen in package thefts from November 2019 to November 2020, the Finder determined.
Because of the busy online shopping month of December, that number is likely to grow by the end of the year.
Fewer people were in the nation’s malls on Black Friday, yet overall holiday season sales in 2020 are expected to rise 0.9 percent, with a 36 percent jump in online sales, a study by the research company eMarketer shows.
Porch pirates could see a prime opportunity to take advantage of the expected spike in packages left at front doors.
They usually get away with it, too. Only 11 percent of victims said the culprits were caught, according to a 2019 study by C+R Research.
Who Steals A Package?
Men are found to be more likely to be both package thieves and victims of the crime, according to the Finder study. With 5.29 percent of men admitting having stolen a package compared with 0.85 percent of women, men are more than 500 percent more likely to be package thieves than women, the study found.
Seventeen percent of men say a package of theirs was stolen during the past year, compared with 11 percent for women.
Still, 86 percent of the nearly 2,000 participants in the study said they have not experienced a package theft since this time last year.