St. Clair Shores Police: Band together to protect from package thieves

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published December 8, 2021

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — While, nowadays, package thieves are more of a year-round problem due to Amazon Prime and other delivery services, St. Clair Shores Police Community Resource Officer Chad Hammer said there is always an uptick in related crimes during the holiday season.

“It’s more so now because of Christmas and the holiday season,” he said.

He recommends that residents who are expecting a package watch out for it or enlist a neighbor to grab it if they won’t be home. He said many delivery companies allow customers to put special instructions for the driver, such as to leave the package behind a bush, under a rug or behind a chair. The packages that are stolen are mainly ones that are left visible from the street, he said.

“This crime happens because someone will drive down the street. They’ll see three packages at three houses and then, if they come back and they’re still there, they’ll grab them,” he said. “The biggest thing is just making sure that package isn’t visible.”

Unfortunately, he said, theft happens even with the best-laid plans.

“If something is taken off your porch, you file a police report,” he said. “They (the company that sent the product) usually ask for the report, and they try to reimburse you that way.”

St. Clair Shores Police also participate in the Neighbors App, which anyone can join, that allows them to ask nearby residents if the crime was captured by their surveillance system.

“We can ask, if something happens in their area, we can ask people to submit a Ring video to see if it catches someone walking around their car or the area,” he said.

Preventing theft in the first place is the best option, when possible.

“If you know it’s coming that day, if you can be around or the neighbors (can be),” that helps stop porch thefts, he said. “The next thing is asking for that delivery to be put somewhere where it’s not visible.”

Hammer said there are other ways to remain safe this holiday season, as well, including using credit cards, as the credit card companies will work with the customer in case of fraud or theft. He encourages residents to check ATMs by pulling or shaking the card slot to make sure there isn’t a device installed that would skim their information and said that, when using cash, to use the smallest bill possible. Avoid pulling out the entire wad of cash to access it so that others watching cannot see how much money is being carried, he added.

Also, he said, if a deal or offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

As the weather gets colder, Hammer said residents should also be sure to use remote car starters when warming their vehicles in lieu of leaving it running with the key in the ignition.