Online shopping has now become an integral part of our life with Amazon leading the way. Whether it's a Rs 100 coffee pouch or Rs 1,00,000 smartphone, everything is available online. With urban life getting even more stressful due to a population boom and crumbling infrastructure, more and more people are opting to do their holiday shopping online instead of walking into a brick and mortar store.
This explosion in online shopping has led to "porch pirates" and "stoop surfers" who swipe holiday packages from unsuspecting residents. In the USA, the courier delivery is often left on the porch or mailbox when someone isn't present to physically accept it.
To counter these thieves, Police in Jersey City have been placing fake Amazon packages outside people's homes to catch thieves. These Amazon packages are insight of cameras near the home and also equipped with GPS devices to track the robber's movements. Police and Amazon picked locations for the sting operation using Jersey City crime statistics and maps of theft locations provided by Amazon.
Jersey City police captain James Crecco, who is overseeing the mission, told the AP it only took three minutes for one bait package to be stolen earlier this week. “We thought it was a mistake at first,” he said, adding that the suspect was caught.
© AP News
Exact figures on porch thefts are hard to come by though. Amazon uses its own logistics network as well as relies on UPS and FedEx for last-mile delivery. Unfortunately, all the concerned companies have declined to share figures.
Amazon is offering the necessary equipment for free to the Jersey City program. “Most of the package thefts we've made arrests on revolving around (closed-circuit TV) or private surveillance cameras that give us a still image,” Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly said. “With the bait packages, some will be under video surveillance, and some will have GPS.”
The Jersey City police hope to catch thieves before they snatch up someone's holiday gifts. The program has undergone legal review and was approved by the local prosecutor.
To prevent theft, users also have the option of purchasing a parcel box that allows only the owner and delivery person access. Amazon Key Smart Lock is one such product and has proven to be useful on most occasions.
Source: AP News