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Tips to Prevent Holiday Package Theft

Don't become a victim of package theft! Now that the holiday season is in full swing, and "Cyber Monday" is almost here, let’s take a moment to discuss a common crime this time of year: the theft of packages from front porches.

Packages that are left unattended make for easy targets for criminals. These thefts commonly occur during normal working hours, since many people are not at home. This is a crime that occurs in virtually every community in our country. To avoid becoming a victim of package theft, we recommend considering these tips:

1. If your employer will allow it, have packages delivered to your office.

2. Request that the shipper hold your package at their pick-up facility so you can pick it up in person at your convenience.

3. Have packages delivered to a place where they can be received in person, such as the home of a trusted neighbor who stays home during the day, or a retired relative.

4. If purchasing something from a large retailer, request that your package be delivered to a local branch of the store so you can pick it up in person at your convenience.

5. Request a specific delivery date and time from the shipper when you know you will be home.

6. Provide delivery instructions to the shipper so that packages can be left at a safe location at your home that is out of sight from the street.

7. Sign up for delivery alerts (text messages or e-mails) from the shipper; call a trusted neighbor when the packages are delivered, and ask them to take the packages inside for safekeeping until you get home.

8. Request that the shipper require a signature confirmation upon delivery; this will prevent your package from being left at an unattended home.

Also, note that there may be other secure delivery options, depending on the vendor you use.  For example, has an option for purchases made on their website called “Amazon Lockers,” which delivers your package to a secure site at a local convenience store (there are two such locations in Palo Alto; for more info on finding an Amazon Locker location near you, click here).

This is a great time of year to get to know your neighbors and encourage them to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior. Please call our 24-hour dispatch center at 9-1-1 or 650-329-2413 to report suspicious activity immediately.

Also, please consider joining Nextdoor (, a free, private, neighborhood-based social network. We use Nextdoor as one of the many ways we provide crime prevention information to our community, but it’s also a great way for you to connect with your neighbors and learn about things that are happening in your neighborhood. Almost 13,000 Palo Altans have already signed up…find out what you’re missing and get on board!  To register for free, click here

If you have been victimized, please give us a call at 650-329-2413.

For a full list of crime prevention tips, head over to

Happy holidays!