Online stores like Amazon can take the stress out of holiday shopping. But buying gifts through the internet can be risky when they’re delivered to your front door and you’re not home.
The packages — usually sitting out in the open on a front porch — make an easy target for thieves.
“This is more than a simple theft,” said Sgt. VaNessa Harrison, an Arlington police spokeswoman. “A package left at the door can also signal that no one is home which means homeowners could also become victims of burglary.”
Online shoppers have several options to prevent this.
First, most delivery companies now provide the option to have packages sent to a secure locker, often outside of a gas station or other public place.
Amazon, UPS and FedEx each offer the service in Dallas-Fort Worth. On Amazon, for instance, you can select a “Pickup Point” location when you check out by searching for a locker near your address.
The lockers are scattered across Tarrant County, including one at a QuikTrip on Hemphill Street south of downtown Fort Worth, at a 7-Eleven near TCU, and at several spots along Interstate 35W and Loop 820 in south Fort Worth.
When your package arrives at the locker, Amazon will email you with a bar code, which you’ll use to pick up the order.
Sgt. Harrison also offered these tips:
- Consider using another address if you are going to have multiple packages delivered during this shopping season. Your neighbor’s or work address is a good alternative.
- Use the tracking numbers to track your packages. This may assist you in better planning when you will be home to receive your packages.
- Install a camera that is out of reach and aims right at your doorstep. While this may not always deter criminals, it offers great leads for police to investigate the offense.
There’s also this idea from Eric Snow, a Las Vegas resident who decided to put out a “bait pack” for potential thieves, according to KSNV-TV. Instead of leaving out a real package, Snow stuffed a delivery box full of dog poop. And it worked.
And for those curious, here’s how the Amazon shipping facility in Haslet handled Cyber Monday, likely the biggest online shopping day of the year: