A look at what's going on in Trinidad, on H Street, and in the larger area north of Capitol Hill.
Monday, April 06, 2015
Local Mail & Package Thief Caught on Tape
A resident of 9th Street recorded a thief walking onto the homeowners' porch and searching through mail before selecting two items from the mailbox and grabbing a newly delivered package off the porch. Mail theft is a common problem in many District neighborhoods, but it's aggravating each and every time it happens to us (I think we all recall the hilarious incident in which a resident tricked an unwitting thief into stealing a package filled with dog poop). Have you had packages or mail stolen? What steps (if any) do you take to prevent it from happening?
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proud to live in dc!!
We have a terrible time with this in Hill East, too - it's one of the biggest topics on the New Hill East listserv. So, so frustrating.
This piece of human waste needs to be sent away for a long time.
He's trash. Hope he's prosecuted.
ugh, I just had one stolen from my doorstep last week. It's really frustrating that they closed the N. Capitol Post Office so now everyone has to go to the Bladensburg facility (which is only easily accessible by car) to get their packages, and the fact that if you miss UPS you have to head out to Landover (!) between the hours of 8 and 9 PM (!!). I can't get stuff shipped to work because they microwave the bejeezus out of everything, so my only solution has been to vent online and rend my garments.
You can sign up for UPS My Choice and have it shipped to a UPS store (Penn Ave SE). Or sometimes, I'll just go to the UPS store around 6pm and hang out. The trucks usually stop there before heading back out to Landover. I've gotten packages that way. I think one time they even had my bike package in the store without using My Choice. The driver might have wanted to clear room in the truck or something
Why can't we just string these people up and be done with it?
So common place, I've walked up to thief at neighbors house and asked for the package in his bag and he gave it to me! I report it everytime; however, I've never had the police actually create a written report. They respond and discuss so perhaps it's written at end of shift.
I just have packages delivered to my office.
A decent solution is a (or multiple) Trail or Spotting cameras. you lock them on a tree and it takes pictures of movement in day or night - still photographs in HIGH RESOLUTION so you can identify the person...not a blob.
I feel like on page 1 of the dc maleficence handbook it reads, "do not worry about cameras, they cannot detect your face anyway unless you stop for a full second directly in front of the camera.
TL;DR - Trail cameras
I don't get this? If someone ever bothered to steal my packages, all they'd get would be some comic books or a t shirt or something. Do they really find stuff they can sell often enough to make it worth it?
It's not just DC, either -- I live in Rosslyn and have had packages stolen off the front step of my townhouse apartment numerous times.
Mail theft is a felony so you'd think the prospect of 5 years in prison and $200k+ fines would win out over $30 worth of crap from Amazon, but apparently not.
yeah, get that shit delivered to your office if you can. surefire way of not getting things stolen. unless you work with thiefs. which you probably don't.
i hope someone beats the &$it out of this guy
What are the police doing? Seriously, they need to start dealing with this stuff and doing something other than filing a report. The always complain that the don't have the manpower to do it but all I see every time I walk out my door is thugs in blue standing around on a corner or sitting around in their vehicle. We need less patrols harassing people and more officers investigating and solving actual crimes like this.
You can get some dust and a brush to lift finger prints for less than $20 off amazon. If they actually took some prints off that mailbox I bet you this guy is already in the system. It's not hard. These cops need to stop sitting around writing traffic tickets and do some real police work.
Writing traffic tickets? They don't do that either.
Dear Fellow Frozen Tropics Readers,
Any suggestions on getting a camera setup like this one? I would love to spread the word on getting these up in my area.
Amazon links would be awesome along with your endorsement!!
Great idea but I wonder if they'll steal the cameras, too...
Anon 1:05pm -- why would you want a camera like this? Other than being able to watch footage of your stuff being stolen, what's the value of having it? The cops don't do anything worthwhile with it, do they? Has anyone ever heard of footage like this being used to catch or prosecute a mail thief? Hell, has anyone ever heard of MPDC catching a mail thief, unless caught right in the act?
I would say as far as buying a camera. Buy one that is meant to be mounted outside so you don't screen or window lowering the quality. Make sure you get one that is HD, at least 1080p. Mount it at eye level, not 50 feet in the air.
Newegg has a good selection that is well organized:
Examples of a trail cameras in the previous post:
make sure to get a Python cable lock and an SD card and you are good to go. it catches a CLEAR photo of people in the day or night. Put out a box of something full time with the camera pointed at it. then turn the photo over to the cops.
It would take 1 person on each block to have one of these to really make a dent. If we delivered photos of people to police this takes OUC out of the loop. OUC is what prevents the police from responding quickly (911 does not call the police...I digress...)
TL:DR TRAIL CAMS GET CLEAR PHOTOS DAY AND NIGHT AND ARE CHEAP (ish)
I'm almost reluctant to say this because I don't want to give away my secret, but I had a HUGE problem with package theft at my house last year. I ended up buying a fake surveillance camera from Amazon for about $7 and mounting it above my front door. Seriously, it's made of plastic and you stick a battery in it to make a red light blink like a real camera. Since installing it we went from regular, brazen package theft to absolutely no theft. This could be unrelated (maybe they just caught our thief), but it could also be linked. Package thieves by nature are lazy (hence why they choose the world's laziest and least lucrative forms of theft), so even a small barrier can be deterring.
The other thing that's good to always do is make a police report. Even though you won't get your stuff back, it helps the police establish a pattern of activity, which sometimes helps them catch the thief.
While this doesn't address the root of the problem there are some steps that can be taken to prevent becoming a victim of mail theft.
1) Buy and install a locking mailbox. They are very common and easy to find. It may be a bit more of a hassle to get to your mail everyday but the ease of mind knowing that someone else won't be able to get to it makes it worthwhile.
2) Don't have packages delivered to your home. UPS offers a service called Access Point. Local businesses sign up as delivery spots, they receive your package, UPS sends you a notification, you come to the store with a valid photo ID and then you leave with your package. Not the most convenient but it is secure. http://www.ups.com/content/gb/en/resources/service/ups-access-point.html
These don't address the root of the problem or the need for more enforcement/prosecution of those who cause the problem. But if you dry up the river it doesn't take long before anything stops going to it looking for water.
Thank you for the post, (and for opening a great store in our neigborhood).
UPS.com tells me the only "UPS Access Points" in DC are the actual UPS stores. Closet one is on the impossible-to-find parking 600 block of Penn SE.
If "local businesses sign up as delivery spots," is that something you'd consider? I'm sure if I were picking up a package I'd remember that I needed batteries - or a table saw.
They actually announced on Twitter this morning that they have signed up. Won't go into effect until sometime in May, but should be awesome.
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