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Cops are using dummy packages with cameras and GPS trackers to catch porch pirates


amazon stolen packages top cities 2018
Image: Digital Trends

Police in Jersey City are not messing around this holiday season. They’ve recently teamed up with Amazon to set up sting operations that would follow and track stolen packages. But the genius thing about this is that the packages are actually decoys and are equipped with GPS and Ring video doorbells.

Porch pirates are real, especially during the holiday season. They follow UPS trucks around a neighborhood and steal whatever packages are being dropped off to, you know, people who actually bought these things.

And there’s even data to back this up. 20 percent of online shoppers in the U.S. at one point have had their packages stolen in front of their home.

This was a major problem in Jersey City

Apparently, it’s a been a major problem in Jersey City, and now the police are finally doing something about it. Earlier this week, the New Jersey city set up sting operations throughout the city. On its first day of the operation, five arrests were made. The first arrest was made literally within a few minutes of the operation’s launch. Talk about swift justice, right?

To help with the sting operation, Amazon provided all the necessary equipment. Additionally, Jersey City police identified areas where porch burglaries were high-risk and gave the low-down to homeowners living in those neighborhoods of what they were doing.

To give burglars some incentive, the packages contained something of value. What they don’t know is that the package is equipped with a GPS tracker. Once the package is moved, an alert from the GPS tracker is sent to the police. There’s also footage from the video doorbells, just in case there’s a defense of mistaken identity.

Speaking to the BBC, Jersey City’s mayor, Steven Fulop said that porch pirates are becoming an epidemic in the city and it’s something residents consistently bring up in community meetings.

This monitoring could lead to bigger arrests

When it comes to the operation, Mayor Fulop said they’re not arresting every individual porch pirate. In some cases, they’re holding back and tracking their movements to see if this is a bigger operation than what they expected. Additionally, they’re looking for culprits who are selling the stolen items, and that alone is another piece to the puzzle.

I’m all for this sort of sting operation. Porch pirates are bad, and they should be outed for the thieves that they are. Imagine being on a time crunch and having one of the coveted gifts that you were hoping to give someone show up on December 23 only to find that some bandit stole it. Yea, that would suck. Hopefully, more cities throughout the country get in on this action.

Have you or someone you know been the victim of a porch pirate? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at kevin@knowtechie.com or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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