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Beware of Holiday Package Theft

Thieves are on the look-out for your holiday goodies

'Tis the season for thefts.

According to the UPS website, UPS estimates it will deliver 527 million packages in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, surpassing last year's total of 480 million. Those stats do not include other companies shipping packages like the USPS and FedEx.

With so many packages coming and going, it is easy to see how those boxes on the doorstep could become easy targets for criminals.

On Facebook, Patch Reader Deann Braley wrote:

"Someone tried that at our house today. Rang the doorbell and waited, when no one answered she was starting to pick up the package and I opened the door. She said she was looking for donations. I told her my package wasn't a donation and she took off."

Pleasanton Police have complied a list of online holiday shopping safety tips for residents. Officer Archie Chu says shopping online is a convenient way to shop but it also has some risks.

Some safety tips to remember:

  • Shop at secure websites that you trust or are well known. You can look for online reviews of the website to help you determine if it’s safe to shop there.
  • Before paying, make sure the website address begins with “https”. The “s” at the end means it’s supposed to be more "secure". It also means the website should encrypt the information it sends.
  • Packages left on a porch or door step are more likely to be stolen. There have been incidents where thieves have followed the delivery truck, waited for the driver to leave the package on the porch or doorstep and then stolen the package.
  • If possible, choose an alternate shipping address. You can send the package to a relative or neighbor who is home during the day and can accept delivery. Or you can send packages to your workplace rather than your home. This will ensure that you receive the package or someone will sign for it if you are not available.
  • Always try to request signature confirmation on deliveries. This will make certain that the delivery person won’t leave the package unattended.
  • Ask the package delivery company to hold the package at their location if you will not be home (many have local delivery centers). Some companies can hold packages for a few days.
  • Some delivery services offer text, email or web based notifications to track your package and let you know when it has been delivered. Check the delivery company’s website for this service.

We continue to ask that you be alert and look out for suspicious people and vehicles in your neighborhood. Be Aware and be Safe!

For more crime prevention tips log onto www.pleasantonpd.org.

In Livermore, thieves have started hitting homes early and the Livermore Police Department offered safety tips to help residents avoid becoming a victim to holiday Grinches.

The following may prevent you from becoming a victim of mail theft:

  • UPS provides a program titled, “UPS My Choice” which provides delivery alerts to electronic devices as well as package tracking. The free service allows you to coordinate delivery to other locations or to a nearby UPS Store. http://www.ups.com/mychoice/features/
  • The United States Postal Service also provides several methods of protection through package tracking and “hold mail” services. https://www.usps.com/
  • Some companies provide a “special instructions” category allowing for the possibility of placing packages in a more secure location (ie: “place inside fence on side yard”).

They recommend not allowing valuable packages to be left on porches or in your mailboxes for extended periods of time and suggest coordinating for package pickup with neighbors, family or friends and/or the use of special delivery methods will ensure you are not the victim of theft.

How do you protect your packages during the holiday season? Tell us in the comments section below.



Tina Razzell November 30, 2012 at 12:59 AM
It would help a lot if the UPS delivery man would ring the doorbell when he left a parcel instead of just leaving it on the porch.
Voter with an ID November 30, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Why don't you go to the UPS website and sign up to require signatures on all your deliveries?
Andy Smith November 30, 2012 at 03:06 PM
My FedEx guy delivered my new MacBook Pro the other day, and he saw that I had a signature form taped to my door in case I wasn't home when he came by. He advised me NOT to do that because of thefts occurring in Pleasanton. He said that thieves know the routine of the UPS/FedEx guys and they will come right after a delivery and steal the package from your front door. Keep in mind that Apple products do not say "Apple" on them anywhere, but thieves know that a return address label that simply says "AI" means it's from Apple Incorporated, and there is likely a computer or iPad in the box.
EC November 30, 2012 at 03:20 PM
If there's something that requires a signature I get with a neighbor who I know will be home and then leave the note for the delivery guy to go across the street to them. I have an alarm system on *all the time these days* so I don't have a problem leaving him a note. I would never leave a signature for them though; that's just asking for trouble. My drivers always ring my doorbell and because I work at home it's all good. If I weren't going to be home though, for regular deliveries I'd leave them a note telling them not to leave it on my doorstep-I'd rather make the trip to the holding center than to have it stolen.
Vanessa Troyer November 30, 2012 at 04:18 PM
After becoming a victim of parcel theft in 1999 ourselves we decided that we needed to create a receptacle that could receive and protect our parcels being delivered to our home while we were at work. We wanted to be able to shop online without the concern that we would be victimized again. I would like to share with you our solution to protect yourself from being victims of parcel theft. The Elephantrunk Parcel Drop can accept the most commonly sold items online. For more information on The Elephantrunk Parcel Drop by Architectural Mailboxes, please visit our website www.architecturalmailboxes.com. Wishing you successful shopping online, Vanessa Troyer CEO Architectural Mailboxes, LLC

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