Police offer advice to help avoid holiday package theft

RICHMOND, Va. -- There’s a chill in the air, festive decorations are beginning to pepper city streets and stores are releasing their Black Friday ads, which can only mean the holiday shopping season is underway.

Richmond Police detectives are reminding the public to protect their gifts this year.

While many shoppers will flock to local stores to snag holiday deals, others will find their incredible savings online, where as much as $117 billion in sales is expected this year, according to the National Retail Federation.  As those purchases are made, packages will arrive on shoppers’ doorsteps – which may not be the safest place to have them delivered.

Last year, Richmond police say there were 28 reported packages stolen in the Fan, from Thanksgiving to Christmas day.

Third Precinct Officer John Raina

Third Precinct Officer John Raina

"It's not ridiculous to see somebody walking with a backpack and just having a bunch of items in their hands,” said Third Precinct Officer John Raina.  “So, the potential for taking something is pretty great if you're not home to collect your package.

In some cases, thieves have been caught on surveillance cameras.

“Online shopping is convenient, but having a package you’re anxiously waiting for stolen from your porch is anything but,” Raina said. “Package theft is a crime of opportunity, and shoppers can take several steps to protect their presents from thieves looking to take advantage.”

As part of the Richmond Police Department’s holiday crime prevention efforts, officers are passing out fliers to highlight holiday shopping and package theft prevention safety tips.

Here are some tips to help ensure holiday packages arrive safely this season.

  • Consider having packages delivered to the store or a place of employment.
  • Ask a family member or trusted neighbor to receive your parcels.
  • Pick up packages at a local distribution center.
  • Request signature on delivery.

The Richmond Police Department also asks that if citizens see a suspicious person or activity that they report it by calling 911.