Amazon has a clever way to catch package-stealing thieves

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Image: Reuters/Lucas Jackson
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More people than ever are shopping online, which means more packages left on doorsteps are at risk of being stolen.

So-called “porch pirates” have become as reliable a part of the holiday season as pumpkin pie, Mariah Carey, and It’s a Wonderful Life. And Amazon has a plan to catch the thieves.

Police in Jersey City, near New York, have teamed up with Amazon to install doorbell cameras and leave fake packages equipped with GPS monitoring devices outside of homes, the AP reported. Police and Amazon picked locations for the sting operation using Jersey City crime statistics and maps of theft locations provided by Amazon. Some police officers volunteered their own homes as bait.

Jersey City police captain James Crecco, who is overseeing the mission, told the AP it only took three minutes for one bait package to be stolen earlier this week. “We thought it was a mistake at first,” he said, adding that the suspect was caught.

“We appreciate the increased effort by local law enforcement to tackle package theft and remain committed to assisting however we can,” Amazon told the AP in a statement.

Other cities have tried to use bait packages in recent years, including Campbell and Santa Cruz in California.

Amazon has taken other measures to secure parcels, such as partnering with buildings to install designated Amazon lockers to accept deliveries, putting Amazon lockers in Whole Foods stores, and buying Blink, it’s even started offering deliveries inside customer’s homes.