Const. Brent Benbow standing next to Amazon packaging as he speaks to media in Prince George on Dec. 11, 2019. (Prince George RCMP handout)

Const. Brent Benbow standing next to Amazon packaging as he speaks to media in Prince George on Dec. 11, 2019. (Prince George RCMP handout)

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

‘Tis the season for porch pirates looking to ruin the holiday season one package at a time – but Mounties in Prince George are looking to curb those thefts in a first-in-Canada “bait package” program.

Prince George RCMP announced this week that the detachment has been teaming up with e-commerce company Amazon to use decoy packages and surveillance technology to catch thieves in the city.

To date, police have placed these bait packages in 50 different locations, leading to three investigations. A 37-year-old man, a resident of Prince George, is facing possible charges, police said in a statement.

“Our hope is that this initiative will lead to many more arrests of persons looking to ruin the holidays for families in our community,” said Const. Brent Benbow, the officer leading the new initiative.

The concept of bait packages has never before been used to combat this particular kind of theft, but has been piloted to catch shoplifters and other thieves. Surrey RCMP used “holiday bait packages” filled with electronics and jewelry at local malls last December, garnering the arrest of three men during a five-day trial – as well as a number of Good Samaritans who tried to return the decoy shopping bags.

Meanwhile, porch pirates continue to be a chronic problem around the country – especially during the holidays when an exponential amount of purchases are delivered to doorsteps.

RCMP are urging people to use caution, and are offering a number of tips:

  • 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.

@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

A power outage Thursday night left nearly 3,000 homes in Clinton and the 70 Mile areas in the dark. (Katie McCullough photo).
Updated: Clinton, 70 Mile left in the dark after vehicle crashes into transmission pole

BC Hydro still working to restore power to 330 homes in 70 Mile House

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

Community consultation is now open regarding disposal of the former Ashcroft Elementary property, which since 2015 has operated as the Ashcroft HUB. (Photo credit: Vicci Weller)
Feedback now sought regarding disposal of Ashcroft Elementary

Residents of the region can have their say about the future of the former AES property

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Most Read