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Buffalo Police report uptick in porch package thefts

Buffalo-area residents are being urged to keep an eye open for their package deliveries, before those deliveries disappear from their porches and steps.

Buffalo Police are seeing an uptick in packages stolen from porches, based on daily briefings with Buffalo Police Department chiefs, according to Buffalo Police Capt. Jeff Rinaldo.

He said this is in part because people are leaving their package deliveries on their front porches longer because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"People are leaving things outside on the porch longer, probably because they're concerned with the package and are trying to let it air out. But the flip side of that is they're making it more attractive for somebody that has ill-intentions," Rinaldo said.

Even though a stolen package was reported to City of Tonawanda Police earlier this week by a resident who provided officers with home surveillance video of the theft, City of Tonawanda Police Capt. Fredrick Foels said his department has not seen an increase in package larcenies since the outbreak. That's despite the fact that more people are home during the day since the pandemic.

"I don't think thieves care, or not, if people are home. They will take the chance if they see ... packages are left on door steps," Foels said.

He noted that such larcenies are performed relatively quickly, which Foels said was the case in the most recent such theft in the City of Tonawanda.

"The thief ran from his car, plucked the package and quickly exited. Unattended packages left for a period of time is a crime of opportunity for any thief," Foels added.

Buffalo Police are reminding residents to check periodically if they are expecting the delivery of a package and bring it inside soon after it arrives.

"We would still recommend to people to take the packages into their homes as soon as possible," Rinaldo said.

If possible, he suggested letting a neighbor know they have a package delivery on their porch or temporarily take possession of the package until they get home to minimize the chance of it getting stolen.

"Be a good neighbor and take the package," Rinaldo said.

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