WARNING: Katy Porch Package Thefts on the Rise


KATY MAGAZINE NEWS

December 5, 2018

Jennifer Lynn Greenway

As the holiday season goes into full swing, so does package delivery from services such as Amazon, UPS, Fed Ex and the post office. A delivered package on a doorstep is an open invitation for criminals to steal them before the homeowner receives a delivery notification.

"We have seen this crime escalate tremendously in the past few weeks," says Constable Ted Heap, Harris County Precinct 5. He said it is to be expected with the holiday season and the increased online buying.

Photo from Constable Ted Heap of Harris County Constable Precinct 5

Nationwide, an estimated 11 million homes had packages stolen during 2017. Time is of the essence in package delivery. Although the thieves don't follow delivery trucks closely, they watch to see what streets they are going down, wait an appropriate amount of time to see if the homeowner is present and then go in for the steal. Constable Ted Heap estimated the window between delivery and theft was short.

Many Katy homeowners are using camera doorbell systems like Ring to capture video of their front porches when there is motion or a doorbell is pushed. If a package is stolen, the homeowner has a picture and video of the theft.

The images below were posted by local homeowners who posted videos of thefts in progress.

Tips to Help Prevent Porch Theft

Constable Ted Heap of Harris County Constable Precinct 5 offers these tips to help protect yourself from porch thieves. 1. MAKE SURE SOMEONE IS HOME

Have someone home during the package delivery time. If not, ask the delivery driver to put the package in a conspicuous place such as behind a plant. Thieves usually do a quick glance at front porches and don't get out to look around the home perimeter.

2. DELIVER TO A NEIGHBOR

Have the package delivered to a trusted friend or family member who will be home the day of delivery.

3. ASK FOR HELP

Have a trusted neighbor, who is home during the day, to collect them from your doorstep rather than letting them sit outside until you return. Most online retailers offer tracking services, so you can see when your orders are delivered.

4. DELIVER TO WORK

4. If at work, have the package delivered to your workplace. 5. DELIVER TO APARTMENT OFFICE

If you live in an apartment, have your packages delivered to the front office, where you can pick them up at your convenience.

6. REQUIRE A SIGNATURE

Request that online retailers require a signature when delivering a package. That will ensure that your deliveries don't sit on your doorstep for hours at a time.

7. REQUEST A HOLD

Have UPS and FedEx hold your packages at their facilities until you can pick them up.

8. USE AMAZON LOCKERS

Amazon lockers are popping up in the area with four (4) locations now in Katy. Your package is delivered to the locker to be picked up at your convenience. The customer receives an email when it is delivered. Packages must be picked up within 3 days. 9. REPORT THEFT

If your packages are stolen, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately. Ted Heap stated that all thefts should be reported to their office. Many people have cameras so if your home doesn't, chances are other cameras in the neighborhood caught the thief.

As the thefts are reported, the authorities can find possible links to the same person committing the crime throughout a neighborhood.

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