Austin-area police share advice on avoiding package thefts

The holiday season is upon us and with that comes a greater risk of package thefts. Local police departments are sharing their advice on how to protect your packages this year.

The Austin Police Department (APD) tweeted out a few suggestions:

  • Require a signature
  • Monitor tracking numbers
  • Choose an alternate delivery address such as work 
  • Install a doorbell camera

"There are a number of options to prevent package theft. You can have them shipped to your place of work, you can have them shipped to the post office, or one of those delivery locker services. For Round Rock residents, you can utilize Operation Front Porch," said Nicholas Olivier with the Round Rock Police Department (RRPD).

Operation Front Porch was started back in 2016 after the RRPD Chief noticed an increase in package thefts in the area. This program is only for Round Rock residents and runs until December 23rd each holiday season. Operation Front Porch essentially swaps your front porch with the police department.

"It is a great way for Round Rock residents to ensure that their holiday gifts make it to their loved ones. Residents will have their online orders shipped directly to the police station, with their name John or Jane Doe, and our address 2701 North Main Street," Olivier said. "Our front desk will receive the packages and we'll store them for up to three days. Then they can come pick them up at their convenience."

The program has been a hit the past few years. In 2019, RRPD received nearly 500 packages and a little less than that in 2020. The number of package thefts have stayed in the single digits.

"It gives citizens that peace of mind knowing that their orders are going to be delivered securely. It helps our officers," said Olivier.

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