The crime spree at the front door

I have an Amazon package due to be delivered today when I’m not home and the odds are increasing that someone will swipe it before I get to it.

If that’s the case, well, maybe you need wheel bearing grease at this time of the year more than I do, thief. Bless you.

It’s only a matter of time before the easy pickings on the doorstep lead to someone getting killed, and there’s a chance it’ll be someone who wasn’t on the doorstep to steal the package.

This week in Woodbury, for example, someone posted a picture of a small, red car that was seen opening mailboxes. A day later, someone else posted a picture of a small, red car “acting suspicious” (it was a Lyft driver). The person called the cops. Fortunately, she reported on the neighborhood forum, the cops were too busy to start pulling innocent drivers over for making the decision to buy a small, red car.

By last night, all the posts were deleted.

If you see this burnt orange Ford Focus (note the black rims) driving slowly/suspiciously in your Woodbury neighborhood,…

Posted by Woodbury, MN Police Fire EMS on Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Sure, there’s a reason to whip neighbors into a frenzy — people are stealing our stuff. But it seems obvious that even a well-intentioned angry mob threaten the innocent.

So it was good to see Pioneer Press reporter Mara Gottfried’s story today about the St. Paul police running sting operations by placing Amazon “bait boxes” with a GPS inside to try to nab thieves, or at least give them something to think about.

“We want would-be thieves to know we have the technology and maybe they’ll think twice before stealing someone’s package off their front step,” said Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesperson.

A St. Paul police investigator said he saw almost no reports of package thefts through October. Since then, there’ve been two or three a day.

But here’s the part of the story neighborhoods need to pay attention to:

Police say home-security systems with doorbell cameras are great for capturing photos of thieves, but they caution against people taking matters into their own hands. Though it can be tempting to booby-trap a box, for example, you might be the one who ends up in trouble if the thief is injured, police say.

It’s only a matter of time.