(CBS News) – Analysts believe Americans bought a record number of holiday gifts online this year because of the coronavirus crisis. That’s given criminals more opportunities to play the Grinch and steal those deliveries. Now neighbors are teaming together to stop them.
Last year, the security company Safewise estimated about two million packages were swiped from homes every day. That was before the pandemic, which led to an increase in online shopping.
A driver delivering a package is a common sight during the holidays. Unfortunately, another sight is also common – someone following the delivery truck, with the goal of swiping a package.
It happened to Rob Trigg. A woman who was trailing behind a delivery truck, went onto Trigg’s porch, stealing a package. “It’s devastating, I will tell you that, especially when you come home and you’re expecting those packages to be there,” Trigg says.
Lucky for Trigg, his next-door neighbor was watching from the window and called police. Authorities caught up with her and found a number of packages inside her car. “We have such great neighbors. We all take care of each other,” he says.
Neighbors are taking care of each other nationwide. In Northern California, Isaac Fischer started a Porch Pirate Patrol. “Since a lot of us are working from home, including me, this is something we can do for our neighbors,” Fischer says.
Fischer asked neighbors to step outside when they see a delivery truck. “If people see people coming out on their porch, that could be a deterrent,” he says.
It worked in New Jersey, too, where Jennie Schafer saw a man reach down and pick up a package from her neighbors’ porch. “And I thought, uh uh! Not on our street! So, I immediately went out the front door and onto my porch and started yelling at him,” Schafer says. He eventually left empty-handed.
In Texas, a man was able to steal items from several homes, but quick-thinking neighbors contacted police and shared their security footage, which led to an arrest.