December is a bustling time of year for delivery services. It’s also the busiest month for thieves stealing those same packages from doorsteps.
Bellingham police have taken nine scattered reports (see map here) of package thefts since Thursday, Dec. 11 — likely a low-ball estimate of how many packages actually have been stolen, police say.
Some people might not report such a theft. Others might not realize that their package had already been dropped off (and stolen).
Police believe some thieves, perhaps with hearts two sizes too small, have been trailing delivery trucks as they make their rounds, then stealing gifts-to-be right after they’re delivered.
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Here are some tips on how to keep yourself and your neighborhood from being victimized.
1. “Take note of pedestrians and vehicles that you are unsure of,” says Bellingham Police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht. Or in the common parlance, be on the lookout for people acting sketchy.
2. Talk to your neighbors. Ask them to keep an eye out for you.
3. Likewise, have your neighbor’s back. That means, don’t hesitate to call the cops if you see a crime happening.
4. Don’t hesitate to call the cops if you’ve been victimized, even if it’s something small. This helps officers on patrol to focus on neighborhoods that need the most help.
5. Ask to have your delivery kept at the post office. That means an extra trip to pick it up, but it’s less annoying than having your package stolen.
Also, on a related note, be aware of scammers trying to take advantage of you via email.
The Federal Trade Commission sent out a warning this week about online phishers sending emails saying you’ve missed a package delivery. Supposedly, you just need to click a link or attachment, print out the page, and bring it to the post office to get your package.
Don’t click. It’s a trap that could mean you end up with malware or a virus.
For more, visit the FTC’s consumer information blog, consumer.ftc.gov/blog.