Though many refer to the holidays as the Season of Giving, law enforcement officials also know it as the Season of Stealing.
Especially around this time of year, remorseless criminals will prey on your goodwill and naiveté to bolster their collection of ill-gotten gains. With many people now using Amazon to complete their holiday shopping, business has never been better for these Grinches, also known as “Porch Pirates.”
As you could have guessed from the name, Porch Pirates are filthy criminals who drive around town swiping holiday gifts right from your doorstep.
Porch Pirate is a fittingly alliterative moniker, but it makes them sound way too cool. We’re not dealing with any criminal masterminds here.
The truth is, we’re making it far too easy for these Doorstep Dolts to rob us of our holiday spirit. I’m not here to victim-shame, but a police officer told me long ago that many of these larcenies are considered “crimes of opportunity,” which means there is little to no planning involved.
For example, a criminal might walk by an unlocked car, see an enticing object on the passenger seat, and just help him or herself to whatever is up for grabs. In this case, simply locking the car would have prevented the crime.
Think of it this way: If you leave a prime rib unattended on your table and your dog eats it, who’s really to blame?
Deliveries to your doorstep, admittedly, are a little more challenging to protect. I reached out to Police Chief Robert Noble, seeking some tips, but he had already beaten me to the punch and made an exhaustive Facebook post on the same subject. With his permission, I share with you some ways to keep the Doorstep Dolts away from your home this year.
- Send packages to where you are, not to where you aren’t. If sending packages to your job isn’t an option, perhaps have them delivered to a trusted relative or neighbor you know will be home.
- If ordering from Amazon, you can have your packages delivered to a secure location. These “Amazon Lockers” are available at many places in New York and Connecticut, including at the Jefferson Valley Mall. Upon arrival, you need to enter information verifying that the package is yours. The package needs to be picked up within three days.
- Certain parcel carriers now allow you to schedule a specific delivery time for your package.
- Consider investing in a home-security system, or even just a camera for your front porch. As you may recall, a home surveillance video led to the capture of a Mohegan Lake package thief in 2017.
- Finally, if you do have one of these home-security systems, you can sign up for the Yorktown Police Department’s new Community Camera Program. This voluntary program allows people to register their security cameras with the police department, which is creating a database of them. If there is a crime in your area, the police can refer to this trusty database and find out who in the neighborhood may have captured the incident on camera. To sign up, visit the department’s Facebook page.
- Have your item delivered in a box labeled “Vegetables Inside” and nobody will steal it.
(OK, that last one was mine.)
To tie this all together in a neat little bow, the police department last week reported car larcenies in the areas of Sherman Court and Lexington Avenue, in which items were plundered from unlocked vehicles. Unfortunately, nobody in those neighborhoods had registered security systems with the police department.
Be proactive and don’t let Doorstep Dolts don’t ruin your holidays.