PRINCE GEORGE, BC: E-commerce in Canada is a multi-billion dollar industry and growing. As more consumers look on-line to make their purchases, more thieves will target the packages left on door steps and in mail boxes.
Earlier this year, Cst. Brent Benbow, a frontline officer with the Prince George RCMP, contacted online retailer Amazon to discuss the theft of their packages from doorsteps and mail boxes in our community.
As a result of that correspondence, Amazon provided packaging, real products and surveillance technology to assist Cst. Benbow and other officers in identifying and arresting those persons responsible for these types of thefts.
With the help of select residents of Prince George, the Detachment’s bait package program was launched. This partnership with Amazon is the first of its kind in Canada.
“Just like us, Amazon recognizes that package theft is an issue” says Cst. Brent Benbow, officer leading this initiative. “They were very thankful we are addressing it and were excited to support us in our efforts. It’s always helpful to have partners in the community who support our efforts to stop property crime.”
To date, bait packages have been deployed over 50 times at various locations in our Detachment area, with a total of three activations.
One of these investigations has led to the arrest of a 37 year-old male Prince George resident. The investigation has been submitted to the BC Prosecution Service for consideration of charges.
Our hope is that this initiative will lead to many more arrests of persons looking to ruin the holidays for families in our community.
“This initiative is an excellent example of the proactive efforts and outside the box thinking that our officers are coming up with to fight property crime in our community” says Supt. Shaun Wright, Officer in Charge of the Prince George RCMP. “Cst. Benbow has done a great job launching this project while navigating the challenges of his regular duties.”
With the holiday season upon us, thousands of packages are being delivered daily. We ask the community to take steps to prevent being a victim of this type of theft.
The Prince George RCMP is providing some tips to help those that shop online:
· Make sure you are on a legitimate website;
· Use pay pal or a small balance credit card for purchases. Do not give out credit card numbers verbally;
· Do not click on a link because it is a super good deal;
· Suspicious websites have non-operating front page links;
· Before you purchase, search the store online to see if it has been the victim of a scam or has bad feedback;
· Be on the lookout for cheaper product clones sold online, pretending to be from a major supplier or brand name;
· Look out for fake coupons;
· Stick with businesses that you trust;
· Have your packages requiring tracking and signature;
· If you are unable to be home at the time of delivery, consider having items delivered to locations where someone will receive them. Relatives, friends, businesses or directly to a local post office for pick-up at our convenience;
· Check and remove contents of community mailbox locations daily;
· Have shipping insurance;
· Keep packages out of site in your vehicles;
· Be careful who you share your shopping successes with.
If you are a victim of a theft, please contact the prince George RCMP at 250-561-3300 to report the incident.
Written and released by Prince George RCMP.