Fort Worth

Holiday shopping online? How to make sure your packages aren't stolen

Fort Worth thief swipes package from front porch

Police earlier this month were searching for a thief who had stolen several packages from front porches in north Fort Worth.
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Police earlier this month were searching for a thief who had stolen several packages from front porches in north Fort Worth.

It's getting to be the most wonderful time of the year -- especially for doorstep package thieves.

An estimated $107 billion will be spent on online sales this year, up about 14 percent from last year, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks shopping trends.

The staggering number poses a lucrative opportunity for thieves, who often take advantage of the easy-to-swipe packages on shoppers' front porches this time of year.

Fort Worth hasn't seen an uptick in package thefts yet, police spokesman Tracy Carter said.

But earlier this month, investigators were searching for a thief who had taken several packages from homes in the 3800 block of Kimbo Road and the 1500 block of Bluebonnet Drive, in north Fort Worth.

In a video of one theft, the suspect casually strolled up the sidewalk of a home, hands in his pocket, opened a front glass door and grabbed a package.

Shoppers have several options for preventing package theft:

  • Schedule a delivery time for when you know you'll be home and require a signature for couriers to leave a package.

  • Amazon, FedEx and UPS offer locker services, allowing you to ship your orders to secure self-service lockers near your home. The lockers are often outside gas stations at convenience stores. For instance, Amazon has lockers at least 20 locations across Tarrant County, such as a QuikTrip and 7-Eleven and most are open 24 hours a day. Whole Foods stores in Arlington and Colleyville also feature Amazon lockers -- the company acquired the grocery chain this year. When your package arrives at the locker, Amazon will email you a bar code, which you can use to pick up the order. To find a locker near you, go to www.amazon.com/findalocker.
  • Amazon also offers a new service for Prime members: "Key," which allows homeowners to grant package couriers (and whomever else they choose) access to their home. The product features the Amazon Cloud Cam, an indoor security camera, and a smart-lock system. One downside? Key is priced at $249.99.

  • Ring, a doorbell with an attached video camera, is another security option. Like other front-porch cameras, it might not prevent a theft but it will provide police with good evidence of who stole your package.

  • Several products are designed just for packages placed at a doorstep. The iBin is a weatherproof lock box that delivery workers can drop packages in. The Package Guard is round device about the size of a Frisbee. When a package is placed on it, the Package Guard sends a text or an email to the customer, notifying them of the package’s arrival. If someone tries to steal the package, the Package Guard sounds off a loud alarm similar to a car alarm.

  • Consider using another address if you are going to have multiple packages delivered during this shopping season. Your neighbor’s or work address are good alternatives.

Police are searching for a woman accused stealing a package of vitamins from a porch on Shiver Road last week.

Ryan Osborne: 817-390-7684; Twitter: @RyanOsborneFWST

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