December 14, 2020, East Orange, NJ:Over the past few weeks, the East Orange Police Division has witnessed a significant increase in package thefts in neighborhoods throughout the city, a nationwide problem that experiences a surge between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you see suspicious activity, please call the EOPD Hotline at 973-266-5041 immediately.
“The best way to thwart this crime of opportunity is to retrieve incoming packages right away and to drop off outgoing packages to a local post office or delivery provider,” advised Police Chief Phyllis Bindi. “The pandemic has prompted more people to shop online and we appreciate their efforts to reduce in-person contact during the holidays, but we just want to caution our residents to be more mindful in order to protect their packages.”
Below are some additional tips to keep deliveries safe:
Protect Incoming Mail and Packages:
- Promptly retrieve your mail - The United States Postal Inspection Service strongly recommends that you pick up mail from your mailbox as soon as possible after delivery, especially if you are expecting to receive a check or merchandise. Do not leave your mail unattended overnight.
- Replace your mailbox with one that has a locking device.
- The U.S. Postal Service can hold your mail at no charge if you’ll be traveling.
- Use your workplace as the shipping address or ship to a location where someone is always home.
- Track your shipments by phone or online so that you know what day they should arrive.
- If you can’t pick up your mail or have a package scheduled for delivery, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick it up for you.
- Keep an eye on your neighborhood and report suspicious persons and vehicles sitting or cruising the area.
- Request a signature delivery option if available, or request the shipment be held at the shipping facility.
- Check with local “mailbox” businesses and see if they will accept shipment of your item for a fee.
- Some online retailers offer a locker service. Packages are delivered to a location where lockers have been securely installed and you are given a code to retrieve it.
- If you do not receive your shipment on time, check with the company of origin and confirm the delivery.
- If your item was delivered and you did not receive it, then report the theft or loss to the original company, the shipping company, and EOPD.
Protect Outgoing Mail and Packages:
- Do not leave outgoing mail with checks or money orders in your personal mailbox for pick up by the mail carrier. Take your mail to a postal collection box.
- Further protect yourself by hand delivering your mail to a post office. If you don't have the option to take your mail to a postal collection box and you have to leave outgoing mail in your mailbox, please don’t raise the flag.
- Do not leave packages on your front porch for pick up by private carriers.
- Using commercial companies does not necessarily mean your packages will be safer. Often when drivers deliver packages, they leave them sitting on the front porch. Thieves will drive around neighborhoods looking for boxes on porches to steal.
- If you are sending a package, let the person you are sending it to know that it is coming and when to expect it to arrive so they can make arrangements for pick up.
- Ensure any packages you are sending for the replacement cost of the items shipped. Most carriers and the United States Postal Service offer insurance.
How to Report a Package Theft:
- To report an in-progress crime, dial 9-1-1.
- To report a package theft when you have suspect information (including a photo or video surveillance), please call 973-266-5041.