DA Flynn Warns Erie County Residents About Increase in Stolen Packages, Offers Tips to Deter Thefts

Modified: December 16, 2020 10:45am

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Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn reminds the community about the potential dangers of leaving packages unattended after delivery. While incidents of stolen packages tend to increase around the holidays, DA Flynn urges residents to be extra vigilant as more orders may be placed online as people choose to shop from home this season in an effort to social distance and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In anticipation of a possible increase in thefts as items arrive before Christmas, DA John Flynn offers the following tips to prevent your packages from being stolen:

  • Be home during the delivery window and bring packages inside immediately after arrival.
  • If you are unable to be home during the delivery time, ask a neighbor to accept and hold the package until you return.
  • Leave a note on your door requesting that packages be left inside a front door or another location on your property that will be out of sight from the sidewalk. If a person cannot see the package at your doorstep, it is less likely to be stolen.
  • Opt for curbside pick-up instead of delivery when possible.
  • Purchase a doorbell camera to monitor when your packages arrive. Video evidence of a porch thief can also be provided to law enforcement to assist in their investigation.

“While some law enforcement agencies in Erie County have reported an uptick in stolen packages compared to last year, I believe this may be an underreported crime because many people file complaints with the retailer or delivery agency when they do not receive their purchases,” said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn. “This can be difficult to prosecute because the thieves act quickly, leaving us with no witnesses or other evidence to connect these individuals to the crime. I encourage residents to be proactive to prevent their packages from being stolen and to consider purchasing a home security camera to catch these thieves in action.”

The Buffalo Police Department reports that there has been a 54.9% increase in residential package thefts this year (231 reported incidents in 2019, 358 reported incidents in 2020). 

The Erie County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute someone caught stealing packages or other property that does not belong to them. Potential charges may include: Grand Larceny, Petit Larceny, and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property.