Cops are using GPS and doorbell cameras to catch package thieves

People who steal other people's packages off porches are the frigging worst. They've no idea of what's in the box they're swiping: they don't care what they get, so long as they get something. It's burgling a house blindfolded. It's the laziest form of break and enter. It's one of the lowest forms of causal criminality going. Also, it's wicked hard to stop. With the holidays coming on like a freight train, more packages than usual are showing up on front porches, ripe for the picking. This year, in at least one city, the cops are ready to put a stop to the package poaching nonsense.

From The Associated Press:

Police in Jersey City, across the Hudson River from New York, are teaming up with Amazon to install doorbell cameras and plant dummy boxes with GPS tracking devices at homes around the city.

They didn’t have to wait long Tuesday for someone to take the bait.

“We had a box out on the street for three minutes before it was taken,” said police Capt. James Crecco, who is overseeing the mission. “We thought it was a mistake at first.”

The suspect was caught, Crecco added.

Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly told The Associated Press that locations for cameras and boxes were selected using the city’s own crime statistics and mapping of theft locations provided by Amazon.

“Most of the package thefts we’ve made arrests on revolve around (closed-circuit TV) or private surveillance cameras that give us a still image,” Kelly said. “With the bait packages, some will be under video surveillance, and some will have GPS.”

According to AP, members of the Jersey City Police Department have been volunteering to have the cameras and GPS-equipped packages left outside their front door. That's pretty great. Now, something less than great: while Amazon has been informing law enforcement when one of their customers shipments has been reported stolen, they're less than forthcoming on how many packages are reported stolen during the course of the year. The same goes for FedEx and UPS.

No one likes to look incompetent, I suppose.

Image via Flickr, courtesy of Paul Sullivan.

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