Prepare Yourself, Prime Package Theft Season Kicks Off Soon


From MPD:


During the upcoming holiday season, please be mindful of any package deliveries made to your home. Please note some of the package prevention tips that I have included below.


Package thefts are crimes of opportunity. The Metropolitan Police Department would like to remind citizens to take extra care this time of year when having mail and packages delivered to their residence. Package thefts from doorstops and front porches during the day usually increase between the months of November and January. There are steps you can take to be proactive in keeping your package safe from theft.


Encourage family and neighbors to pick up packages as soon as possible as after they are delivered.

Track your packages. Try to be present at the time of delivery. Many mail carriers allow you to track your shipment online:





Be neighborly. If you can’t pick up your mail ask a neighbor to do it for you. The U.S. Postal Service can also hold your mail if you travel during the holidays.”

21 Comment

  • No other major U.S. city has this problem and mpd seem to just take it for granted. What an embarrassment.

    • It is absolutely false that no other major U.S. city has this problem. Just google “package theft” and you will find news stories across the country. It’s a problem that has arisen in tandem with the increase in web shopping. And what exactly should MPD do about it? Station a cop on your porch?

      • I’ve been advocating for “sting operations” around the city, where police place a package with a GPS-tagged item on a collaborator’s front step, along with a camera to record the theft. When the package is taken, the GPS leads to the thief, and the video is the proof we need to convict. Word that these traps are all over the city would have a chilling effect on package theft, along with taking a few thieves out of circulation.

        Placing the bug inside a >$1000 iPod or laptop would make the crime theft in the first degree, and we could put these people away for up to a decade. Solves the problem quickly.

        • Accountering

          Couple this with ads blanketing the city, telling would-be package thefts that this is happening, and that they are intentionally putting in high-value items so they can charge with a felony.
          This shouldn’t be a gotcha game, but a true deterrent. I like your idea though…

          • Given that we have limited police resources, I would rather have efforts targeted at combating violent crime than package thefts…

          • Just because there are violent crimes happening doesn’t mean we should ignore lesser crimes. And it’s not as if tracking a GPS is exactly a huge use of resources. The police presence to investigate just one burglary probably dwarfs this.

    • Not only is this not specific to major cities, but it also is a major problem in the suburbs. People literally follow delivery trucks around and then go snatch the packages as soon as they are out of sight. Do we have to shit on MPD for absolutely everything?

      • It’s like driving along behind Santa’s sleigh and watching the presents fall out!

      • SouthwestDC

        I’ve lived here 5 years, and get two or three packages a week. I haven’t had any stolen yet. I did have one stolen during the year I lived in Arlington though.

        • I have lived here for three years, and there is an embarrassing amount of packages delivered to my house on a regular basis. I have had one package stolen in this time, but, oddly enough, after I reported it to Amazon who opened up an investigation with FedEx, the item sans packaging and with a sticky note saying “delivered to wrong address” found it’s way to my mail slot a few days later. When I lived in the ‘burbs, I had several packages stolen from my porch even while home. The funniest of all being three nursing bras from JCPenney. Have fun with that one, thief!

        • HaileUnlikely

          I’ve probably had about a hundred packages delivered to my house in the past 2 years. The only one that was ever stolen contained a pack of Tide stain-remover pens and a pack of safety razor blades. I hope the thief was able to put those to good use.
          The only high-value item that was reasonably steal-able was a projector, and I made sure I was home when it was being delivered. Most of my other deliveries are things like cat food, cat litter, and high-value but cumbersome and likely less tempting items to steal, like power tools. I am always happy when I receive those and find that they were shipped with just a shipping label on the product box, so a would-be thief can see that it’s a table saw (maybe they want one) and not a computer or a television.

    • When I lived in LA, it was a major problem. In fact, the only place I’ve ever had a package stolen was there. Somehow in DC I’ve always gotten lucky with my deliveries.
      As for MPS taking something for granted, do you mean this email? I think notifying the public about the risk is a good reminder. Not everyone reads this blog and knows that its a problem.

  • There are a couple preventive things that can be done:

    Amazon shopping: You can have most boxes (shipper and size restrictions apply) delivered to an Amazon locker that are usually inside a 7-11. The closest ones are in Arlington, Crystal City and Alexandria. These are great if you happen to commute to Virginia.

    UPS: You can register for a free MyUPS account on their website and divert your UPS shipments to a UPS store (or other registered locations). There are locations in DC for this one.

    Deliver to workplace.

    I wish we didn’t have to resort to these types of measures.

  • UPS and FedEx/Kinkos will allow you to deliver to a store rather than home address. USPS provides this option too. It’s great for anyone who does not have a deliver to work option as some places restrict as policy due to security concerns or added cost/effort to mail room staff. Delivering to store eliminates the threat for items you order, but may not prevent theft of gifts. Amazon also has a “locker” feature for delivery, but according to their website they do not have any located in the District.

    • These are helpful, but the main reason I order things on line is so I do not have to transport them myself as I don’t have a car. If I’m going to pick it up at Kinkos, I’ll just go to the store.

      • …unless the store happens to be within a few blocks and the item manageable to carry, which in DC would apply to many people. I wouldn’t have a washing machine delivered to UPS, but then again a package thief typically wants something manageable in size to boost.

      • SouthwestDC

        If the item is so big you need a car to transport it it’s probably not going to get stolen sitting in front of your house. These options are good for small things though. I guess they’d require a special trip out if you work from home, but otherwise it wouldn’t require much of a deviation from your daily routine. In my case I have two UPS stores, two FedEx stores, and an Amazon locker all on my normal commute route, and I’m thinking I might start getting small items delivered to those places even though I don’t have a problem with package theft.

    • I think the reason for no Amazon lockers in DC (they would obviously be widely used!) is for tax reasons. I don’t think they have any actual operations or warehouses in DC yet. Installing lockers would give them a DC foot print.

  • HaileUnlikely

    Lots of good suggestions above for ways to protect your stuff. One more: you can order lots of things from Google Express, and schedule the delivery date and time to within a 4-hour window. There are of course lots of things that one might want that are not found in Google Express’s small network of retailers, but I get lots of stuff from them now and find it to be extremely convenient.
    An issue that I find to present a special difficulty with protecting my stuff is receipt of unexpected gifts. Although I am not aware of having missed any yet, I do worry that a family member may send me something that I do not expect that is more valuable for sentimental reasons than for financial reasons and that it may disappear without my knowledge that it was ever sent until they ask me if I ever received it and I don’t have any idea what they’re talking about. I just thought of this after receiving something completely unexpected from an aunt that I’m not close to after my wedding last spring.

  • may imitate what some folks did last year…. Collect my dog’s crap and store it in a box on my porch….. Go ahead, steal it!

    • I’ve seriously considered doing this. My only concern is that I wake up to a porch full of dog crap the next day. Might be worth it tho, especially if caught on video.

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