As the holiday season rapidly approaches, the Chelmsford Police Department and I would like to remind residents to be vigilant when ordering gifts online by following several easy steps to prevent doorstep theft.
Never put yourself in a position where your gift orders are going to be at risk. Every year around this time we see an increase in packages taken from homes after they're delivered. We would hate to see anyone lose a valuable purchase because someone was not home to retrieve it on time.
FedEx and UPS offer services to assist customers. To ensure packages are not stolen, consider:
• Requesting a signature on your deliveries, especially those of high value, so they are not left unattended. You can also give specific instructions on where to leave a package so it is not left in a visible spot.
• Signing up for an email alert that will notify you when your delivery is set to arrive.
• Choosing an alternative destination -- either at work or at a family member's, friend's or neighbor's house where someone will be home to receive the delivery.
• Re-directing packages, even if they're already on their way. Send them to your closest FedEx or UPS office, or another secure location.
• Setting up a vacation hold if you'll be away during the holidays so gifts will not be delivered to an empty house.
If you arrive home to find your package has been stolen, immediately report it to police. However, if the item was not insured, the chances of receiving it back are slim.
Residents should NEVER accept a surprise package or gift where a payment is required. Additionally, do not give out any personal information when retrieving a delivery if you initiated the purchase.
Chief James M. Spinney