JOLIET – Waiting on a package to arrive from Amazon or UPS as you shop for gifts?
The likelihood that someone may snatch it when it comes to your doorstep may be high during the holidays, Joliet Deputy Police Chief Ed Gregory said. That is why Joliet police will have a unit of officers in unmarked cars randomly following delivery trucks throughout the city to be on the lookout for thieves.
“I have a specialized undercover detail out and this detail is out throughout the whole city,” Gregory said.
Joliet police are warning residents of package thefts, which they describe as a “crime of opportunity.” Some people walking down the street spotting a package delivered from an online retail website can’t “resist the lure of easy loot,” according to a Joliet police news release.
Gregory said Joliet police have received four to five reports of package thefts but some ended up being a package delivered to a wrong address or a neighbor actually safeguarding it.
To avoid packages being stolen, residents should require a signature for delivery, track them online or sign up for notifications.
If a courier leaves a package at the address without a signature, they are generally responsible for replacing it, Joliet police said. Online retailers also have claims processes for packages ordered and paid for but not received.
“If all else fails, your credit card company would likely eat the charge for a package that was never delivered to you,” the Joliet police said in a news release.
Plainfield police detective Rich Meszaros said people also can be on the alert for any suspicious activity regarding deliveries and if they “see something, say something.”
“A couple of the calls we received were a suspicious vehicle that seems to be following a UPS truck and we investigate right away. It turned out to be something else but it was great that they call,” Meszaros said.
Meszaros also recommended people either consider using their workplace to receive packages or Amazon Lockers. Packages can arrive at more than 2,000 locations across more than 50 cities nationwide, according to Amazon’s website.
Certain stores at the Louis Joliet Mall, The Promenade shopping center in Bolingbrook and Whole Foods in Naperville have Amazon Locker locations.
Meszaros said Plainfield has not had any instances this year of package thefts.
Gregory said people can also ask their neighbors to hold their package for them if they are not home. Joliet police recommended people exchange phone numbers with trusted neighbors and offer to pick up their packages or vice versa.
To deter thieves, the Joliet police also recommend installing a camera at ones home, even a fake one.
“Modern, high-definition security systems are remarkably inexpensive, not to mention do-it-yourself friendly. Even a fake camera with a flashing light is better than nothing,” the Joliet police said in a news release.