Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Preventing Holiday Package Thefts

Packages left on front doorsteps are targeted by area thieves.
Packages left on front doorsteps are targeted by area thieves.

Last year, we reported on thefts of holiday packages at apartment buildings in the Miracle-Mile area. This year, we’re hearing reports of holiday packages being stolen from porches and front doors in other parts of the neighborhood. It seems the bad guys are always changing their tactics, hoping to catch neighbors off guard at the holidays.

Here are some suggestions about how technology can help you can reduce the likelihood that you will be a victim of this seasonal crime.

Several neighbors have suggested using cell phone apps to track your shipments more precisely and thus reduce the amount of time a package will be out and exposed to a potential thief.

The US Postal Service now offers real-time delivery notifications. Customers can sign up for alerts at and receive notification within a few minutes of the delivery scan for select packages. Or you can hold it at the post office. The postal service also offers a program called USPS Package Intercept that lets you redirect a domestic shipment that hasn’t been delivered or released for delivery. It’s available for packages, letters, and flats, with a tracking or extra services barcode.

FedEx offers a similar service called FedEx Delivery Manager that allows you to customize your deliveries when you’re away from home. UPS offers a similar program too. Amazon offers a secure location

Or, have packages delivered to your office, where they’re more likely to be delivered directly to you instead of waiting in a mail area. Amazon also offers a “secure locker” where you can go and pick up your packages at your convenience. A quick local search found several “lockers” in the neighborhood, including one at a nearby convenience store on Wilshire.

Consider installing a security camera on your porch. This may deter potential thieves and you you can also check if there are any packages sitting on your doorstep from anywhere, at any time. Plus, if your package is stolen, security camera footage of the thief can go a long way toward helping police catch them. You can also record and keep evidence if your package is mishandled or damaged.

If you do lose a package, when trying to get it replaced or your money back, it matters who sent it. Packages stolen from the US mail are a federal crime, so you need to contact the post office. If you’re the shipper, it’s worth looking at insurance that will allow you to file a claim. Some shippers, like Amazon, will just replace the item but others may require more paper work.


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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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