Small businesses help deter package thieves

Posted at 5:46 PM, Nov 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-28 18:46:31-05

Cyber Monday deals and the ease of ordering online has led to record-breaking sales on sites like Amazon, but actually receiving that order without anyone interfering is a constant problem for people in the City.

Footage from a security camera on Saturday captured a daily occurrence in Canton – a package thief making off with a box left on a doorstep.

Major retailers have come up with ways to prevent thefts. If you're ordering through Amazon, you can store your package in a locker for up to three days.

“It's really a safe, convenient, easy way to get your Amazon order delivered to a location where you go pick it up when it works best for you,” said Kelly Cheeseman, a spokesperson for Amazon.

Prime Now is a special service offered in Baltimore and ensures your package is delivered within hours of ordering and in a timeframe where you can wait at home.

“Through Prime Now mobile application, you can watch your delivery courier heading right to your doorstep,” Cheeseman said.

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And with the holiday deals just kicking in, more people will be expecting packages. Last Cyber Monday, Amazon customers ordered 629 items per second and that number's expected to grow.

Thieves will also be on the lookout, which is why police say to have a plan in place. Talk to your neighbors, ask them to hold any unattended package. Request a signature upon delivery, or if you don't want to pay extra for a P.O. box, some local businesses are stepping up to make your holiday a little bit smoother.

Dan Hoffman is the owner of Canton Games and guardian of neighbor’s packages.

“Every day for like three weeks, people were posting, ‘Oh. I got my box stolen. Oh no, this was stolen off my doorstep.’ I'm like hey guys, I have a storefront, just send it to me, here's my address, ship it to me and I'll hang onto it for you,” said Hoffman.

He's done it for the past two years. In that time he's gotten to know the delivery drivers as well as neighbors passing through his store to pick-up a shipment.

“I don't charge anybody for this but it's good to help out the neighborhood. I've had stuff stolen before and it sucks and especially around Christmas time, nobody should order a present for somebody else and then have it stolen from them, that's just lousy,” Hoffman said.

In South Baltimore, there’s a similar offering. Several businesses are providing the same service free of charge. Jim Craig is an insurance agent with Allstate. His Federal Hill office is part of the South Baltimore Neighborhood Association’s package delivery program.

“It alleviates the problem of the package sitting on someone's front steps, which is just an invitation for a problem,” Craig said.

Another participating business is Afters Café. Craig knows the program won't stop the culprits, but it'll provide some peace of mind.

“Bottom line is I think people just want to make sure they get what they're expecting and this seems to be a pretty viable way of doing it,” said Craig.

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