The Signal Tribune newspaper

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Commentary: Deterring package thievery with online, home technologies

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When my mom first mentioned to me in passing that she had heard from some neighbors that packages were being stolen around our neighborhood, I didn’t give it much thought at first. Then I went to visit a friend who also lives in Bixby Knolls and noticed her family had a new doorbell I had never seen before. It was attached to a black rectangle made of smooth plastic and had a circular blue light on it.

Apparently, it was one of the video doorbells produced by the brand Ring and was one of the new lines of defense that residents of Bixby Knolls and surrounding areas had been using to protect their property. This was my first sign that the package-stealing epidemic in the area was more serious than my mother’s offhand comment had led me to believe. It appeared that my friend’s family several blocks away had also been made aware of the spree of package thefts and were searching for ways to make the front of their home, where packages are usually at risk of being stolen, more secure. When I questioned my friend further about her family’s new high-tech doorbell, she informed me that not only could it send alerts to a homeowner’s phone, it also provides live digital footage of whoever is outside the door. Upon further review of the company’s website, I noticed that one of its main selling points was that, by using their doorbell in conjunction with a phone, consumers will be able to monitor what occurs on their doorstep “whether you’re in the backyard or halfway around the world.”

Unlike my mother, my friend’s parents had not heard about the thefts from word of mouth. They informed me about a forum I was previously unaware of, Nextdoor, which allows people within the same community to post messages that their neighbors can see and reply to. Apparently, there had been an abundance of posts from in and around the Bixby Knolls area concerning stolen packages. Some residents were even able to provide video footage on Nextdoor of the thieves in action, presumably with devices such as the Ring video doorbell.

Package theft is unfortunate and frustrating for community members, but technology is helping residents protect their homes and property. However, technology, such as online forums and new devices, aren’t the only way people are attempting to dodge package thieves. Having a package delivered to a different address is a step some residents have felt it necessary to take. Picking up a package from a friend’s house when you could have it delivered directly to your home may seem like a hassle, but it is a viable option to preventing further package theft. This is what one acquaintance of mine was driven to do once he had two different packages stolen from the front of his door. After losing both a book and a vinyl record to thieves, he did not want to continue running the risk of having his packages stolen in the same way again.

Hopefully, the ingenuity and vigilance of community members will lead to the apprehension of these package thieves. In the meantime, residents are finding solutions to the problem in a multiplicity of new ways that will help to curtail the attempts of criminals in the area.

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Serving Bixby Knolls, California Heights, Los Cerritos, Wrigley and Signal Hill
Commentary: Deterring package thievery with online, home technologies