By NINA RAFEEK
Toronto police are warning local residents to be “extra vigilant” with their shopping and package deliveries at this time of the year.
As residents are taking advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals online, neighbourhood thieves are taking advantage of the increase in delivered packages sitting unattended at front doors.
“The week approaching Black Friday and continuing through to Cyber Monday, there is a rise in online shopping which means there are more packages being delivered and left on porches. This increases the opportunity for thefts as there are more potential victims,” said Const. Jonathan Morrice of Toronto police’s 55 Division.
Increased thefts are also occurring in parked cars, Morrice said.
Just this week, Emily Lyons came back to her car at Queen and Broadview only to discover that $8,500 worth of watches, destined to be sold to help support her charity for children with cystic fibrosis, were stolen, as reported by CBC.
Morrice said that thieves survey parked cars in malls or residential parking lots to see if they have shopping bags or packages in them.
Also, they often follow courier trucks and wait to see if the delivered package sits on the doorstep unattended. “If they like it, they try to sell it, if not, they toss it,” he said.
Although he could not provide details on how many arrests were made in the Beaches—East York area, Morrice said that in-home surveillance cameras are “very good” for identifying suspects.
Recently, a theft victim submitted footage on a high-quality surveillance camera which led to an arrest, he said.
Morrice said that there are a number of precautionary measures residents can take to protect their purchases:
- When purchasing an order, as an option tick, “Don’t leave package on doorstep”. If there is no one to collect the delivery, it will be sent to the nearest depot for pick-up
- Track your deliveries online so you have an idea of the time and date of the delivery
- Give a trusted neighbour the delivery info and ask them to look out for your package if you know you will not be home
- Park your car in well-lit and busy areas of mall parking lots. Avoid leaving your shopping bags in the car and always keep your car doors locked
- If purchases must be left in the car, lock them in the trunk, so they will be out of sight.
- If you see a suspicious person or someone in the act, do not approach them. Get a description and call the police
Anyone who has information on thefts of items from homes or cars can contact Toronto police at 416-808-5500 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.