Could GPS-outfitted decoy packages protect your Cyber Monday deals?
A South Jersey town has a proactive plan to keep the Grinch from stealing holiday packages from front steps.
Gloucester Township Police Department revealed it has experimented with decoy packages outfitted with GPS tracking devices.
Over the last year, items equipped with GPS — decoy packages, purses and shopping bags — were left unattended on front porches, in cars and at stores. The department reported only one package was stolen. The GPS sent police directly to the suspect, a 17-year-old charged with theft, according to police.
Gloucester Township Police Chief Harry Earle discusses a new GPS decoy system implemented to deter package and bicycle thieves. Cherry Hill Courier-Post
The slightest movement sets off the tracker, beaming the coordinates of the package — and it's potential thief — to the Gloucester Township's Community Policing Dispatch Center where officers track its location in real time.
The decoy program is meant to be a warning to potential thieves to deter thefts in the township.
Protect your Cyber Monday deals
What can you do if your town doesn't have a GPS decoy program?
- At work when your package is expected to arrive? Ship it to your office so it's not unattended outside of your home for 8 to 12 hours.
- Require a signature for deliveries. If you're not home to sign for it, it can't be left out front. Usually, the delivery company will leave a note telling you where to pick it up later.
- Install your own theft and burglary deterrent — a security camera. Many cameras can be purchased without subscriptions and use Wifi to transmit images and alerts to smartphones. Cameras should be prominently displayed, but high enough to prevent tampering.
- Will your package sit in the dark? Consider lighting where your package will be dropped off.
- Think your package was stolen? Amazon.com suggests waiting 36 hours after the package was marked delivered before contacting the online retailer or police to report it stolen. Amazon.com says the package may be victim of a delivery alert system glitch instead of a victim of theft. It may just be late.
- Your package isn't at your doorstep 36 hours after Amazon.com marked it delivered? Contact Amazon.com to report it, and talk with options with a rep for the retailer. Then, call your local police department. Don't forget to check with neighbors.
Amazon's newest fulfillment center opens Sept. 2018 in West Deptford. Carly Q. Romalino, @CarlyQRomalino