From the Forum – Packages stolen off porch

Photo by PoPville flickr user District Shots

Packages stolen off porch:

“We had several packages stolen off our front porch yesterday (5th and Gallatin NW). Mid-afternoon a man in a bright blue jacket, hat and messenger bag walked up to the house, knocked on the door (presumably to make sure no one was home), and grabbed our stuff. We have security cameras and were able to provide the footage to the police, but be forewarned that this may be a common occurrence in the neighborhood, especially with the holidays coming up.

The police let us know this happens quite often where the thief will grab the packages, then find an alley to open them and transfer the contents to their bag so as not to look suspicious walking down the street with boxes. Think about requesting a signature for future deliveries to your homes.”

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22 Comment

  • Yes, this is a big problem in DC. Luckily, we have a system in place so our packages can’t be stolen. However, it only works when I am expecting a package. I am so paranoid about it that I listed my parents address in Virginia for our wedding registry!

  • ChenChen

    no offense, but this is just common sense for DC. Never have shippers leave packages at the front door of your house/apt building etc. Unless your lucky, it’s going to be taken!

    on that note, be careful walking out late by yourself and be aware of your surroundings always but especially now. Holiday season unfortunately brings lots of theft/robbery etc.

    Be safe!

    • How do you avoid this? USPS just seems to leave packages wherever they like at my place.

      • Emmaleigh504

        make friends with your mail carrier. My mail carrier takes special care with my mail b/c I chat with him on occasion.

        • This is good advice. (Although you might need to befriend more than one person — at least in my neighborhood, there’s one mail carrier for most of the week and a different one 1-2 days per week.)
          Emilie, you don’t work from home at all, right? So you’ve chatted with your mail carrier on Saturdays?

      • binpetworth

        If you have the ability to ship to your office, do so. Since some people cannot do this, making arrangements with a package concierge service (like Base Camp) would be an option. While I make concessions for folks new to DC, I’m always relatively surprised when long-term residents express surprise at stolen packages.

      • You can find more information about dropboxes, BaseCamp, and other alternatives/ideas in my compilation of PoPville package-theft threads here:

    • This is easier said than done. Even when I tell UPS or FedEx my door code to leave a box inside the secure area, they leave the box outside. Only USPS will reliably leave packages inside, but most people don’t ship with USPS. If I’m buying something really expensive, I’ll often call the shipper and offer to pay more to ship Postal Service.

  • I have some packages that were reported as delivered over Thanksgiving, while I was out of town. They are nowhere to be found. I live in Petworth as well. Is this worth reporting to the police? I’ve since re-ordered the items at no cost to me.

  • This is a huge problem in Capitol Hill. Worth it to have items sent to a package receiving place. We have one on Penn ave SE.. Lady charges $1 -$2 to receive your packages. Kind of worth it.
    Also, Amazon has those drop boxes you can have stuff shipped to, but they are all in NOVA.

  • To the OP: Sorry about your packages. Are you happy with your security camera system? I am looking for a wireless system and welcome any recommendations. Thx

  • Someone on my neighborhood listserv was having his packages stolen, so he took an empty box, filled it with his dog’s $***, and left a nice note. Apparently after the poo package was stolen he did not have any further issues 😀

    • Might be TMI, but my doc sent me a stool collection kit which was subsequently stolen from my porch. Haven’t had any problems since (with the package stealing, that is)!

  • This is really getting ridiculous. Every other city in the country can get packages delivered to their house. In DC the police does nothing about it. Our ANC rep wrote the Petworth listserv a few weeks ago and, rather than promising to do anything about it, suggested we send packages to friends in the burbs or pay a bunch of money for a private mailbox service. I’m sick of this BS.

    Side note: if a USPS package is stolen report it to them, not just MPD. The postal inspection service takes this seriously and can bring federal charges, unlike the keystone cops in district 4.

    • You can’t completely blame the police. In my neighborhood, the police have caught several package thieves. Unfortunately our legal system has them back on the streets stealing packages within a month or two.

    • LOL at the keystone cops comment. To be fair, MPD has been successful in catching some of these criminals. Also, my friend lives in Arlington and when I lived there he had packages delivered to my building b/c they were always stolen from his apartment door step. So I don’t know if “every other city in the country can get packages delivered to their house” without problems.

      • Maybe by every other city you mean somewhere like Pleasantville, Idaho where no one steals ever. But this is the District. People will snatch every thing worth value from you if it isn’t glued down, locked up, or out of sight. I’m in the process of moving from a building where the UPS guy has a key to drop off our packages inside our locked common area to a house where I would in no way leave packages outside and have no idea how I’ll handle that other than having everything delivered to work. Kind of sucks. But I guess that is what it means to live in a big city with enormous income disparity.

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