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Prince George RCMP and Amazon partner to nab holiday package thieves

Prince George RCMP Const. Brent Benbow speaks about the force's partnership with Amazon for a bait package program, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Prince George RCMP
December 12, 2019 - 12:28 PM

For the first time in Canada, the RCMP has partnered with online retailer Amazon to target porch bandits in Prince George with a bait package program.

With the season of gift-giving upon us and the ease of online shopping, it is no surprise that people continue to choose online markets as their preferred method of shopping. The delivered parcels are left vulnerable on doorsteps, often sitting ducks for thieves.

Prince George RCMP Const. Brent Benbow contacted Amazon to inquire about possible partnerships to prevent theft. Amazon provided the detachment with packages, real products and surveillance material to assist them in nabbing the holiday grinches with the bait package initiative, according to an RCMP media release.

“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,” Prince George detachment officer in charge Supt. Shaun Wright said in the release. “Const. Benbow has done a great job launching this project while navigating the challenges of his regular duties.”

Select residents have been part of the project so far, leaving the baited packages on their doorstep or in a mailbox. Fifty packages were left out, and to date three have been activated. One arrest has been made after a 37-year-old Prince George man stole a baited package.

“Just like us, Amazon recognizes that package theft is an issue,” Const. Benbow says in the release. “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.”

This bait package idea is not new to Kamloops RCMP. Media liaison officer Corporal Jodi Shelkie says in an emailed statement a bait package project in 2019 led to the arrest of a few thieves, although they can’t share with the public the number of arrests made.

“Kamloops RCMP has been deploying bait packages for most of 2019. We have made arrests of people stealing packages either from vehicles or business and residential areas,” Shelkie writes.

Calls to the RCMP's Southeast District media relations officer Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey to ask about the use of bait packages in the Okanagan were not immediately returned.

Prince George RCMP offered some tips for those who choose online shopping for their holiday gifts.

They recommend requiring your packages to tracked and be dropped off only with a signature, having items delivered to friends, relatives or a post office if you’re not going to be home, to keep packages out of sight in your car, and to use shipping insurance.

In addition to package theft, they warn of online scams and fraudulent online markets. They recommend using Pay Pal or a small balance credit card for purchases, to do some background searching on the store to see if anyone has reported a scam and to watch out for fake coupons or deals.

If you are a victim of theft or an online scam, contact your local RCMP.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2019

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