MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The Maplewood Police Department issued an advisory email about how to prevent package thefts, stating that they have recently received complaints of package thefts, and that during November and December these complaints "always go up due to the amount of items being ordered via the Internet for holiday gift-giving."
The most recent Maplewood police blotter reported two package thefts from homes on Suffolk Ave. and Wellesley St.
According to Maplewood police, the majority of packages are delivered directly to the customer’s door, even if no one is home to accept them. Maplewood police stated in the email "unfortunately, this brings out individuals who are looking for crimes of opportunity, as well as criminals that actually target delivery trucks in neighborhoods. Thieves sometimes follow or watch for FedEx, UPS, US Mail and other delivery trucks and then target a home after a delivery is made."
To reduce the chances of being victimized by package delivery thieves, the Maplewood Police Department offers the following advice:
- Choose a shipping option that requires you to sign for delivery.
- Check delivery status online so you can try to be home when the package arrives. Some retailers even offer text messages to your cell phone to alert you when items have been delivered.
- Have a trusted neighbor take in the package for you.
- Arrange to have the package shipped to another location where someone can receive it. This could be your workplace, a friend or relative’s home, or even the local "mailbox" business that may agree to accept shipment of your item for a fee.
- Ask the delivery service to hold your package for customer pick-up at their local shipping facility.
- If you do not receive your shipment on time, check with the company of origin and confirm the delivery. If the item was delivered and you did not receive it, report the theft or loss to the original company, the shipping company, and the police department.
Maplewood police also stated that many of these crimes occur during broad daylight, and advised residents to "be alert about suspicious behavior in your neighborhood, especially if you see a delivery truck making the rounds and a vehicle following behind or unfamiliar subjects on foot approaching a home that has a package visible in the front."
Be prepared to call the Maplewood Police Department at 973-762-3400 to report this type of suspicious activity or call 9-1-1 if you observe a crime in progress.
Maplewood police advise residents to get as much descriptive information as possible about the type of vehicle, color, make/model, license plate info, and if you possible, to provide a description about the person or persons in the vehicle - age, hair color, clothing description and color, distinguishing features - facial hair, tattoos, height, or "anything else you think may help the officers catch them."