Do Police Investigate Stolen Packages?
With the rapid rise of e-commerce and online shopping, the convenience of having our favorite items delivered straight to our doorsteps has become an everyday reality.
However, this surge in home deliveries has brought with it an unfortunate consequence: an increase in stolen packages.
Many people wonder, “do police investigate stolen packages?”
This blog post delves into the role of law enforcement in addressing this issue and offers insights on what you can do to protect your deliveries.
Why Police Often Don’t Investigate
Typically, police do not investigate stolen packages for the following reasons:
Lack of resources: Police departments are often stretched thin, and may not have the resources to investigate every report of stolen packages. They may prioritize other types of crimes that are deemed to be more serious or urgent.
Difficulty in identifying suspects: In some cases, it may be difficult to identify who stole a package, especially if there are no witnesses or surveillance footage available. This can make it hard for the police to pursue an investigation.
Low priority: Stolen packages are viewed as a low-priority crime by most police departments, especially considering that theft under $1000 is just a misdemeanor.
Lack of evidence: Even if a suspect is identified, there may be little or no evidence to link them to the crime. This can make it difficult to build a case that will hold up in court.
For these reasons, reports of stolen packages are not given the same level of attention as other crimes and simply aren’t worth the department’s time.
When Police Will Investigate
However, there are cases where the police will investigate stolen packages.
If theft is frequent or occurs in large volumes in a particular area, if high value items are stolen, or if strong evidence is available, police are more likely to pursue investigations and sting operations to catch culprits. Public pressure and media attention can also prompt more law enforcement action.
The Problem of Package Theft
As more and more people opt for online shopping, package theft has become a widespread issue.
According to a 2020 survey by C+R Research, 43% of Americans have been victims of package theft at some point.
These “porch pirates,” as they are often called, prey on the vulnerability of unattended packages, knowing full well that it is difficult to catch them in the act.
Police Perspective on Investigating Package Theft
Given the prevalence of package theft, it is reasonable to wonder if the police actively investigate these incidents.
The answer, however, is not straightforward. While police departments are aware of the issue and some may allocate resources to address it, they often have to prioritize more severe crimes, such as violent offenses or large-scale theft operations.
As a result, whether or not police investigate stolen packages depends on several factors:
Jurisdiction: Local laws and policies can affect how police departments approach package theft. Some cities may have dedicated task forces or specific initiatives targeting this issue, while others might not prioritize it.
Severity and Frequency: If a particular neighborhood or area experiences a high volume of package thefts, the police may be more likely to take action. Likewise, if a single incident involves a large monetary loss or a valuable item, the chances of an investigation may increase.
Available Evidence: If there is clear evidence, such as surveillance footage or witness statements, police are more likely to pursue an investigation. However, if there is little to no evidence, they might be less inclined to devote resources to the case.
Public Pressure: In some cases, public outcry or media attention can prompt the police to take action, especially if package theft becomes a significant concern for the community.
How Law Enforcement Addresses Package Theft
When police departments do investigate stolen packages, they may employ a variety of tactics to catch the culprits. Some of these strategies include:
Sting operations: In some cases, law enforcement officers may place decoy packages containing GPS trackers in strategic locations to catch thieves in the act.
Neighborhood patrols: Police might increase their presence in areas with high rates of package theft, potentially deterring would-be porch pirates.
Public awareness campaigns: Law enforcement agencies can work with local media to raise awareness about package theft and share tips for preventing it.
Collaboration with delivery companies: By partnering with delivery services like USPS, FedEx, and UPS, the police can obtain data on theft patterns and potentially identify suspects.
Protecting Your Packages: What You Can Do
While it’s reassuring to know that police can and sometimes do investigate stolen packages, it’s important to take preventive measures to minimize the risk of theft. Here are some practical tips:
Use tracking information: Monitor your package’s progress and make sure someone is home when it arrives or ask a neighbor to collect it for you.
Require a signature: Request a signature confirmation for your deliveries, so they won’t be left unattended.
Install security cameras: Surveillance cameras can deter thieves and provide evidence if a package is stolen.
Use alternative delivery options: Consider having packages delivered to your workplace, a trusted friend or family member’s house, or a secure package locker or delivery center.
Customize delivery instructions: Provide specific instructions for delivery drivers to place your package in a discreet location, such as behind a planter or inside a porch.
Invest in a package lockbox: These secure containers can be placed on your porch and require a code or key for access, keeping your deliveries safe from opportunistic thieves.
Stay in touch with neighbors: Communicate with your neighbors about package deliveries, and look out for one another’s parcels.
Report stolen packages: If you do fall victim to package theft, report the incident to the police and the delivery company. While it might not always result in an investigation, it can help law enforcement track theft patterns and identify problem areas.
So, do police investigate stolen packages? The answer is complex and depends on factors such as jurisdiction, severity, available evidence, and public pressure.
While law enforcement agencies may not always be able to devote significant resources to individual cases of package theft, they do employ various strategies to address the issue, such as sting operations and neighborhood patrols.
As a consumer, it is essential to take preventive measures to protect your deliveries, such as using tracking information, requiring signatures, installing security cameras, and exploring alternative delivery options.
By taking a proactive approach, you can help minimize the risk of package theft and ensure that your online shopping experience remains a positive one.
Why don’t police make package theft a higher priority?
Police departments often have to prioritize more serious crimes and allocate limited resources accordingly. Stolen package cases can be difficult to investigate and prosecute as well.
What can I do if police won’t investigate my stolen package?
You can file a report with the delivery service and contact your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance company to see if they cover stolen package claims. Also take preventive measures like requiring signatures, using secure delivery locations, and installing security cameras.
Are sting operations effective for catching porch pirates?
Sting operations have proven effective in some areas by catching thieves in the act. They act as a deterrent and help police gather evidence to prosecute repeat offenders.
How often are porch pirates prosecuted and punished?
Many package theft cases go unsolved and do not result in arrests or charges filed. However, when strong evidence links a suspect to multiple package thefts, prosecutors can file felony charges which may result in fines or jail