City News Service

You Can Take Steps to Keep Delivered Packages From Being Swiped From Your Front Porch

After cases of mail and parcel theft recorded by cameras in one Burbank neighborhood, police released video of the yet to be identified apparent thief, and urged residents and delivery personnel to be aware.

In separate incidents around 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 7, cameras saw a man take letters from an unlocked mail box on the 1800 block of North Pass Avenue, and grab a parcel envelope from the front porch of another home a block away on the 1800 block of North Maple Street, said Burbank police Sgt. Derek Green.

In the video, a USPS mail truck can be seen parked at the curb.  It's believed at the time the letter carrier was delivering on foot down the block.  The homeowner recalls the envelope was to have been delivered instead by one of the private delivery companies, but wonders if the sight of the mail truck prompted the thief to look for parcels left on doorsteps.  There have been cases in which thieves followed delivery trucks, grabbing parcels after they were dropped off.

"We encourage not only residents, but also those delivering packages to be vigilant and observant of suspicious activity this time of year," said Green.

Mail and parcel theft is a concern year round, but especially during the holidays when the volume of deliveries increases so much.  Green offered these security tips:

  • If you're expecting a package, try to be home to accept it, or make arrangements to have it delivered at a time when someone is home.
  • Set up email or text alerts upon delivery.
  • Have someone you trust accept the package on your behalf if you are unable.
  • Require a signature for packages, especially those that contain valuable items.
  • If you routinely have packages delivered when you aren't home, explore options for delivery lockers or postal mail boxes.

"If anyone witnesses what appears to be a package theft, do your best to obtain a suspect description and vehicle license plate number, if applicable,'' Green said. "Report suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency.''

The taking of the parcel envelope on Maple was recorded by a doorbell camera.  It provided evidence, but evidently did not serve as a deterrent.

"Luckily it wasn't something very expensive," said homeowner Ami Bera. "But it's more the principle of the matter. Just the fact that something like this is happening, and it's kind of scary, and just knowing that we have kids in the neighborhood, too."

In her case, she knew the package was coming and was home, but did not hear the delivery. Using some kind of a lockbox is something Bera said she will consider to safeguard future deliveries.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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