There is a lot of temptation for criminals this time of year. Packages are dropped off at eye-popping speed: UPS delivers about 300 packages per second the week before Christmas. During its busy season, the company says, volume increases by about 10 million packages a day, offering easy pickings to criminals, who can quickly sell the goods on the black market.
Boxes have been disappearing from homes in recent weeks, putting a damper on the holiday season as thieves help themselves to treasures sitting unattended on doorsteps. Some thieves follow delivery trucks to learn which houses have packages. Often, they leave bulky boxes behind and make off with the contents.
“These are crimes of opportunity,” said Commander Daniel Hickson, who is in charge of the police district that includes Capitol Hill.
Police suggest that customers who are not home during the day have packages sent to a work address or a neighbor who can hold on to them. UPS said the company recently started an online preference program, in which customers can log in and have packages routed to a different address.