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Avoiding the rip off by doing a little extra

Some unusual thefts occurred during the week leading into Christmas. A person appeared to have followed a package delivery truck within a West Fargo neighborhood and stole the contents of packages left outside the front door of the homes. The suspect was believed to be travelling on foot based on shoe prints left near the scene of the thefts. The packages were opened, the contents removed and the empty boxes were left at the home of the next victim. A suspect has not been identified.

Packages and other unsecured valuables left outside can be a target of opportunity for thieves. There are things you can do to avoid being ripped off.

Elect to have packages delivered to your place of work if allowed by company policy. Schedule to have packages delivered to your home when someone will be home to receive them. Require a signature receipt so the package will be held if no one is available to accept delivery. Track your packages on-line using the computer tracking system available through most shipping companies. The tracking system allows you the ability to estimate when the package should arrive. The tracking system will also alert you to a package that has been delivered but has gone missing.

Avoid leaving items unsecured in a motor vehicle. Vehicles left unlocked when parked are inviting to thieves. Anything that can be quickly grabbed from within the vehicle will be taken. Vehicles left unlocked and running to warm-up become the object of theft. Your warm car may be too inviting for someone walking in the cold to avoid and provides for a quick trip across town.

Snowmobiles and four wheelers left on trailers are more frequently stolen this time of year. Use wheel blocks, tongue locks or chain the trailer to a solid object to prevent thieves from connecting to and stealing your trailer. Any lock can be defeated but may discourage all but the most serious of thief.

Should we have to lock up our stuff? The answer would be no if people were to respect one another's property. The reality is we must all do something extra to avoid being the victim of a crime. Lock it up, secure it, and keep it out of sight to prevent a disappointing experience for you and your family.