From the Forum – Why doesn’t MPD conduct sting operations to deter package theft?

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Why doesn’t MPD conduct sting operations to deter package theft?

Package theft affects a lot of people in DC. You probably know someone who has had a package stolen. So why doesn’t MPD do anything about it? Would it really be that difficult to set up a sting operation in a few neighborhoods in the city? Has anyone hear an explanation as to why MPD hasn’t done this? Is there any other way to deter people from stealing packages? Has anyone ever heard of anyone in DC being arrested for package theft?

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35 Comment

  • Why? Because the ROI would be horrible.

  • How do you know that they haven’t conducted sting operations?

  • My guess is that MPD is more interesting in deploying finite resources to deter violent crime and drug activity than property offenses.

  • I really just don’t understand this as a problem.

    If you live in a neighborhood where people get packages stolen from your front porch frequently you have a host of options.

    1. Get the package sent to work. If you aren’t allowed to receive packages at work then…
    2. Have the package sent to the local UPS , FedEx or USPS office and pick it up there instead. All three give you the option of sending it to the nearest office for pick up.
    3. Arrange to have it sent to a friend or a neighbor who doesn’t have the same problem.

    As far as setting up a sting, what do you expect cops to do all day? Put an empty cardboard box on someones steps and wait 3 weeks for someone to take it? Doesn’t seem like a very good use of anyones time.

    • And if you live in a neighborhood where cars are constantly getting stolen just don’t get a car! Problem solved!

      • Car owners who live in such neighborhoods who have cars that would get stolen generally take the initiative to combat it. Buying the club, paying for lojack, etc. You want the city to spend millions of dollars waiting for someone to steal the ironic tee-shirt they just paid $20 bucks for because they can’t be bothered to recognize their situation and conduct themselves accordingly.

        Somehow I take grand theft auto a little more seriously than someone getting their $12 dollar pomade from stolen from their front porch.

      • While it appears that you are being sarcastic, your proposition would undoubtedly prevent you from having your car stolen.

    • I can understand the argument that there are better uses for the limited resources of the police, but how can you say this “isn’t a problem” because there are ways to avoid it (for some people)? Do you believe that muggings aren’t a problem because one can simply choose not go outside at night? It seems clear enough that these thefts do take place and that they cause annoyance and inconvenience, at minimum, for plenty of people.

      • OK, how about this: it is a problem, but a small one compared to the other problems that MPD must address. As such, it gets fewer police resources dedicated to it than the other problems.

  • They should plant some decoy flowers in CP while they’re at it.

  • PDleftMtP

    They do. Some of them have been on this board.

    • I like to think that this comment is a reply to “They should plant some decoy flowers in CP while they’re at it.”

  • KSB

    I understand that it’s a problem even for people who are home and have packages taken from their front steps or porches moments after delivery. These thieves follow the delivery trucks around and are just crazy brazen! Not always as simple as making alternate arrangements – I think it’s a valid concern and should be addressed by MPD (I believe it already is, actually.)

  • gotryit

    Package theft is sometimes related to a few select individuals, but is also sometimes just a crime of opportunity. Stings are better for catching the one or two people. They can make an example if the punishment is severe enough (e.g., underage sex stings), but that’s just not going to happen for package theft.

  • For whatever reason, the Amazon Dropboxes have not come to DC. They are all over Northern Virginia, where package theft is probably pretty minimal. It would be perfect for DC, but they are not in the market at all. So weird – so many people in DC would use these since government employees are not allowed to receive packages at work. It just seems like a huge market for Amazon to overlook.

    • What are Amazon Dropboxes? I’d never heard of them before and was curious so I searched on Google, but the only thing that seemed to come up was Dropbox as in the cloud storage site.

    • Another reason NoVA > DC!

    • you’ll probably never see them here, at least not as long as VG is mayor. stopping “retail leakage” is a constantly-stated priority for the admin, so anything making it easier to shop online will not be welcomed.

      • Ah yes, special interests. And let’s face it – for the package thieves, this is probably their only job.

        Hizzoner Vincent Grey – The Job Creator!

    • It might just be an agency rule and/or not evenly enforced. Everyone I know at my agency that lives in the city without a doorman gets their packages delivered at work. For large packages the security ask to see that it is in your name when leaving.

    • Probably because so many people in VA have crazy long commutes that would prevent them from being home for the deliveries, or even for being able to pick them up during the hours FedEx, UPS, etc are open.

  • the cost of prosecuting and punishing this crime is unfortunately very disproportionate to its very low impact. so, not much we can do.

    • in hill east the cops are pretty good about busting people for this, i.e. looking for and chasing down the guys on bikes when someone reports something, etc. sting is another level of commitment, but it’s not like the treat it like jaywalking

  • How about some vigilante sting operations? Like exploding ink packages? I’m sure doing that will come with a brick through your window (at the least), but may be fun.

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