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Amazon uses dummy parcels to catch thieves (bbc.com)
133 points by adzicg 39 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 135 comments



I haven't had any packages stolen for the last few years. We have a large "toy box" on the front porch/deck that has a padlock on it. When expecting deliveries, we just leave the lock unlocked and leave a note to put the delivery in the box and lock it. So far, so good! I can't say the same for my neighbor though. He was hit last week, and is now going to build a box. It was less than $60 to make (3/4" plywood, 2x4's, stain, lacquer, hinges, padlock) and is too heavy for a single person to lift when empty.


As a metal worker, I’ve been intending to build a parcel receptical like a donation bin, you know the ones with the swinging horizontal door on the front that prevents a person from reaching inside, and a regular door with a padlock on the back.

As a metal worker, I’ve been intending to build this for the past ten years. The last thing I feel like doing when I get home is more welding. Sigh.


What kind of work was it you do? :)


Mostly structural steel at the moment, but in the past everything from marine to commercial kitchens. Nothing pressure rated though. At the moment I operate a 4kW ytterbium fibre laser set up to cut up to 20mm mild steel, 20mm stainless steel, and 12mm aluminium.


That's a really good idea. The annoying thing in Boston is that you might have two packages from the same order (looking at you, Amazon) arrive at different times on the same day.


Would it be feasible to use a combination padlock and send the number as a part of the address/shipping note?


I'd doubt delivery drivers would have the time. They already sprint to the door with the package or drive right up.


Maybe? Kind of doubt it, though. Plenty of places don't have a delivery-instruction field and a lot of deliveries (again lookin' at you, Amazon) are barely delivered at all. "Chuck it on the front step and go."


Well, there's always Amazon Locker for those cases. A little less convenience for a little more assurance.


And that's annoying, for sure, but most of the time the box would still work though, right?


Well, this happened both today and yesterday, 'cause my roommates and I don't really sync up our online purchases...;)


I'm pretty sure Amazon explicitly offers the option to "group my items into as few shipments as possible, even if it takes longer".


As few as possible is sometimes still more than one, though.


Why does this happen? Are the items coming from multiple Amazon locations?


> Are the items coming from multiple Amazon locations?

Yep! Especially if you live in NYC (or anywhere in the North East really). Amazon has something like 50+ different warehouses in NJ and Pennsylvania alone.


I searched for that option recently and couldn't find it. Could you give the exact path through the menus?


As far as I remember, the option appears when you're checking out and choosing your shipping. It's per-order, not per-account.


Thanks. Hmm. It wasn't very obvious then.


Doesnt work if they are coming from different warehouses or are too big for one box.


Makes one wonder if this is one of the issues behind Amazon and Ring+Rekognition rumors. I don't think this is the main driver (they'd sell a lot regardless, if one is to believe neighbors on NextDoor), but it definitely would be a nice bonus (to make package theft a thing of the past, for all intents and purposes).


I'm surprised more people in single homes don't do this. I've never needed it, but when I've had home milk delivery the boxes always have a place for a lock in case you want to use it - and that's just for milk!


I've looked into one-way package recieving devices before, and I think something would be best integrated into the person's home wall or door. A system like USPS mail drop boxes would be ideal.


What if a thief decides to deliver himself into your home?


Just return him if you're unhappy with your purchase.


"Coming up next, what you might get in the mail soon, and you probably won't like it. The surprising new trend of youngsters pranking people by dropping wild animals in their mail drop chutes. Details after the break."


You would protect this system like any other entry to the home: with a lock.


If it is not heavy enough, just dump some rocks in the bottom.


This is why every Christmas I order Explosive Dye Packs with motion sensitive trigger from Amazon :-) Actually, no I don't.

I have considered some DIY solutions however, one being a 115 dB siren[1] and battery that goes off when it is taken. The intent being to draw attention to the people carrying the stolen package.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Alarm-Siren-115-dB-VDC/dp/B0002BG3SU


For $60: https://www.theblankbox.com/shop

Story: Man fed up with package thieves rigs box with shotgun blanks to stop them https://abc7news.com/man-fed-up-with-package-thefts-rigs-box...


Sounds clever, but how can you distinguish between a package that's being moved by a thief and a package that's being moved by the delivery person?


I think the idea was the homeowner plants the package with the horn, not orders one.


Yeah I think that was the idea. Although..

If the package had a cell network connection it could check that its tracking number has been delivered, then "arm" itself.

Or, the package could be programmed to wait for the homeowner's WiFi SSID to appear, then wait for the accelerometer to settle when the package is put down.


Ohh I like that, I bet you could program an ESP32 to do that pretty simply (watch for the SSID to vanish.)

Or, I could turn it into an SDR project. Send a Zigbee 'disarm' signal once every 10 seconds or so, if the package got out of range of my SDR it would go off.


I like the ESP32 idea! Sound Bombs - the new maker project.


I wonder why stings/bait-items aren't used more often, when an area is facing a rash of specific kinds of crime, like bike theft, parked-car smash-and-grabs, and package theft.

It's often a small number of violators – sometimes professional – who've been emboldened by early successes to scale up. So just a few stings, with adequate follow-through prosecution, could have a highly-leveraged effect on the overall rate.


It's the adequate follow-through prosecution that's the problem.

Fines? Can't get blood from a stone. Jailtime? The cost-benefit analysis doesn't support that, prison time is expensive and petty theft doesn't really cause that much damage.

I have no solution to offer here.


The cost-benefit analysis doesn't support that, prison time is expensive and petty theft doesn't really cause that much damage.

That's the rationale that makes car theft such a huge problem around here in the Seattle area, or did until the laws were tightened up a bit. Prosecutors and judges either didn't consider it worthwhile to punish offenders heavily or didn't have the legal tools to to do, so we ended up with people who had literally dozens of prior arrests being set free to steal more cars.

Not everything is supposed to be a profit center, and that includes law enforcement. I pay taxes to keep criminals away from my home and out of my life, and I expect to get what I pay for. Whether it's inconvenient or unprofitable to do so is not my concern.


> Whether it's inconvenient or unprofitable to do so is not my concern.

It should be if you’re paying taxes. I personally don’t want my taxes to skyrocket to cover expanded law enforcement if it doesn’t provide a meaningful benefit.

For the record, (almost) no one thinks law enforcement should be profitable. That doesn’t mean that cost/benefit analysis shouldn’t factor in.


> Jailtime? The cost-benefit analysis doesn't support that, prison time is expensive and petty theft doesn't really cause that much damage.

You're not considering deterrence. Sure, the cost/benefit of an individual does not support jailing a small-time thief. However, other potential thiefs may be deterred from committing the crime in the first place. This aggregate level of crime reduction often does justify itself in a cost/benefit analysis.


Is deterrence really a thing? Multiple studies show that more severe punishments don't actually deter because the people committing the xrime almost never think of them.

See https://nij.gov/five-things/Pages/deterrence.aspx


Usually the major deterrent to crime is the likelihood of being caught. A lot of research has shown that longer sentences don't deter, however getting caught more often does.

https://nij.gov/five-things/pages/deterrence.aspx


#3 on that list is all about deterrence. “Police deter crime by increasing the perception that criminals will be caught and punished.”

If criminals believe that the cost/benefit analysis will leave their crimes uninvestigated and unpunished, then yes, they are more likely to commit crimes.


#1 on the list you forwarded is: "The certainty of being caught is a vastly more powerful deterrent than the punishment." #3 is "Police deter crime by increasing the perception that criminals will be caught and punished."

Stings run by police, generating stories of caught-criminals, and making it so that repeat offenders face a rapidly-escalating likelihood of being caught, would seem to deter, by the evidence at your link.


Community service, pays back the community, hopefully break-even cost in terms of administration and enforcement to labor productivity gained, at least won't be as bad as a prison sentence. At best can be a form of rehabilitation.


And when you don't do your community service because there's no consequences (because jails are already full and because you can't squeeze water from a stone), what happens?


You also have to pay someone to constantly supervise them which is just as expensive as just paying someone to do the job.


[flagged]


There's a strong cultural bias against corporal punishment in the US, but it should probably be studied, perhaps as an option a mature defendant can choose in lieu of another fine/imprisonment, but is never forced to take.

If the practice actually deterred crime, without leaving any lasting physical or psychological damage – other than an aversion to re-offending – it deserves unemotional consideration.


What do you mean, lashes for theft? How about if they were public? I hope I won't live to see that in the western world.


You can read about how it works in Singapore at the Wikipedia article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caning_in_Singapore

The description of scarring and motion difficulties for up to a month afterwards are more severe than I'd expected. The lashes are not delivered in public.

There are some ways in which Singapore is "the western world", by language/culture/legal-system, though not geography. As the article notes, their practice of caning was inherited from the British.

I share some of the visceral discomfort with the idea, but also know lots of things we allow because they work, or are within someone else's preferences, also cause many people visceral discomfort: organ (or fecal!) transplants; non-majority sexual practices; legalization of drugs or prostitution (some western world jurisdictions). Disgust is often a hint, but not reliably dispositive, about what should be allowable.

We also allow solitary confinement and the death penalty, despite evidence these have weak deterrent effects, sometimes causing grave psychological damage or the death of innocents. What if we studied the matter, and found evidence that corporal punishment of adults better deterred crime, with less follow-own damage, than these traditional practices. We should probably then ban those familiar barbarisms, but still consider as possible the far milder action – lashes – that seems like a barbarism from unfamiliarity and gut reactions.


Corporal punishments don't even work on children, what make you think it will work on adults?


I think it should be studied. Singapore famously uses them, and has vanishingly-tiny street-crime/property-crime rates. See, for example:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/16/singapores-crime-rate-is-so-...

My hunch is that it could work because it provides a cheap, rapid symbolic "closing of the psychological loop" – offense, capture, punishment.

Even though the tangible costs (in money and time) may be less, the necessary messages are sent to change the calculations of the sort of people who choose such crimes. Indeed, there may even be less collateral damage to their other lawful relationships (job, school, family), compared to jail time spent with (and learning from) other worse criminals.

In the US, jail time is a theoretical punishment, but very inconsistently applied because the courts and jails are crowded. Such uncertainty lessens the deterrent effect, and leaves the victims of petty crimes feeling helpless.


I don’t know why people make this claim. I don’t spank my kids, but the idea that spanking doesn’t work seems utterly absurd to me. It’s the classic “positive punishment”.

Is it the best way to get a kid to behave? No, not according to the research. Is it going to turn generally shitty parenting into good parenting? Obviously not. Can it be an effective discipline strategy? Yes.



There’s no real scientific data captured there, but my criticism is summed up well:

> As in many areas of science, some researchers disagree about the validity of the studies on physical punishment. Robert Larzelere, PhD, an Oklahoma State University professor who studies parental discipline, was a member of the APA task force who issued his own minority report because he disagreed with the scientific basis of the task force recommendations. While he agrees that parents should reduce their use of physical punishment, he says most of the cited studies are correlational and don’t show a causal link between physical punishment and long-term negative effects for children.

> “The studies do not discriminate well between non-abusive and overly severe types of corporal punishment,” Larzelere says. “You get worse outcomes from corporal punishment than from alternative disciplinary techniques only when it is used more severely or as the primary discipline tactic.”

> In a meta-analysis of 26 studies, Larzelere and a colleague found that an approach they described as “conditional spanking” led to greater reductions in child defiance or anti-social behavior than 10 of 13 alternative discipline techniques, including reasoning, removal of privileges and time out (Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 2005). Larzelere defines conditional spanking as a disciplinary technique for 2- to 6-year-old children in which parents use two open-handed swats on the buttocks only after the child has defied milder discipline such as time out.

The studies that exist largely seem unable or unwilling to distinguish between mild spanking and physical abuse. Those in the spanking-is-evil camp are fine with this and will assert that there is no difference because they’ve already decided and are happy to argue circularly. So they’ll argue that because some physical punishment has clear negative outcomes, all physical punishment must have negative outcomes despite support for that belief being minimal to nonexistent. This is akin to asserting that brief Time Out as punishment is harmful because locking a child in a closet for hours as punishment is harmful.

I feel like there should be more compelling proof that spanking (not a rollup category of “physical punishment”) is harmful. There seems to be little to no evidence for this, which makes the belief pretty suspect.


Community service, pays back the community,

Probably just a gimmick. Court costs and overhead time checking the crooks doing mandatory good deeds might be more. But then we have to punish them somewhow


I'm not sure if this has been tried before, but how about a time consuming (multiple choice) test for deterring crimes where an offender, in order to cut prison time, has to study hard and be mentally in involved with like 1000 questions for a few hours. Fail the test? You're given a week to study and take the test again. The type of test that is so annoying that once you pass you don't want to take it again.


So, you're saying that to avoid jail, all the offender has to do is sit in a room for a few hours every week?


Could the police, after being baiting a thief have enough evidence to support an investigation into the individual, and get them for a felony?


Social credit score system in China takes this role I understand. People seem not to like that idea however.


Such systems have many problems, one of them being that they're fully automated, and mistakes WILL be made. One day you wake up with a ruined social score because someone who looked a bit like you was witnessed by a camera selling drugs or something. Have fun trying to correct that before someone decides to look up your score. Not to mention all the potential for abuse.


Public shaming.


It would work for some but a certain subset of people don't empathize and really don't care.


That stopped working when homeless people became invisible to us.


> petty theft doesn't really cause that much damage

Sure it does. Insurance rates. Compare rates for San Francisco vs. Houston for comprehensive coverage. Or San Francisco vs. Cupertino for that matter. Every smash and grab costs everyone more money.

Prop 47 is a big culprit. These thieves can cause $1000 in damage to a car, but their prosecution is pretty much pointless.

If we want to talk cost benefit analysis, prosecuting armed robbery with no injuries doesn’t make sense either: if the robber gets $100, and it costs $100,000 to imprison them, then that’s a bad cost benefit return right? If you want to operate under a cost benefit analysis, jail time should only be required if whatever damage is done exceeds the cost of incarceration. That’s absurd, but that’s what a cost benefit analysis would reveal, assuming costs are measured in dollars.

Broken windows policing works [1].

https://cebcp.org/evidence-based-policing/the-matrix/micro-p...


  if the robber gets $100, and it costs $100,000 to
  imprison them, then that’s a bad cost benefit
  return right?
Depends if it deters him and 9 other robbers, who would otherwise have committed 100 such crimes each.

I mean, if a criminal is operating under rational choice theory [1] and they know their crime will go unpunished even if it is detected, why wouldn't they steal packages?

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rational_choice_theory_(crimin...


Why is this comment, which is sourced and well argued, greyed out without a single response?


Because many people wants no people in jails. Can't stop people from committing crime? Well, don't put them in a jail and bam, you have no people in jails!

Who cares about what someone feels after they get robbed. Public feeling safe does not register on RoI report.


I know a family friend who works in internal investigations at $PACKAGE_DELIVERY_CORP, and this kind of sting is nothing new. You just don’t hear about it.

Disclosure: I work at AWS but know nothing about Amazon delivery


Probably because it is work and the police don't care. In California with Prop 47, it might not even be a crime to steal packages.


  it might not even be a crime
The relevant question becomes, "is a crime that is not prosecuted materially different from a non-crime?"


Why is this comment being downvoted?


Perhaps a direct quote from prop 47 would clarify how it makes theft not a crime.


I was curious about that comment so I Googled it. Here is the top hit which has fairly good depth:

https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2016/05/14/shoplifting-cal...

The summary seems to be that Prop 47 treats shoplifting under $950 of value as a misdemeanor. As a result, law enforcement is unlikely to pursue and punish, so thieves get away scot-free.

Additionally, organized crime has exploited this and can easily recruit people for their shoplifting rings. The article reports that retailers have seen a rise in shoplifting since the law took effect.

So presumably, package theft of anything below the value of $950 from a door step (not a federal USPS mailbox) would only be a misdemeanor in California.


Theft of goods valued under $950 was reclassified from a felony to a misdemeanor, regardless of what the item in question is (a case in 2017 was a car!).

So, still a crime, on par with jaywalking and littering (which, in Cali, is a minimim $100 fine + 8 hours community service).

And yet, we're talking about things that could be Christmas gifts, baby food, medicine, people's means of transportation, you name it.


on par with jaywalking and littering

This is false. Jaywalking and littering (and most traffic offenses) are infractions, not misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are still serious crimes that can result in jailtime.


In California, sure. That is not true everywhere. There's occasional stories of arrests over jaywalking in Atlanta and Detroit, and Nevada does list it as a misdemeanor, on par with:

* solicitation of prostitution * DUI with no injuries * trespass * battery domestic violence (with no injuries)

https://www.shouselaw.com/nevada/misdemeanor-law.html

Same goes for littering in assorted jurisdictions. I'll concede that lumping those two as examples in a discussion involving Cali as context was misleading. The fine + 8 hours community service is for the infraction of littering in california. That is not to say that they are not misdemeanors elsewhere.


Is jaywalking really a misdemeanor? That would be incredibly harsh.


Not in California, same for littering (the reference to Cali was only for the fine + hours of community service). However, it is in Nevada:

https://www.shouselaw.com/nevada/misdemeanor-law.html

and various other jurisdictions.


Interesting, apparently because misdemeanor is the lowest possible category. Most places classify it as an “infraction” which is a step below a misdemeanor.

I bet that has caused some unfortunate fuss with people “convicted of a misdemeanor” for a simple speeding ticket trying to explain it in a state where a misdemeanor is something more serious.


" In California with Prop 47, it might not even be a crime to steal packages."

Good thing California doesn't make laws and regulations related to packages and mail, the USPS does, so it is still a federal crime to steal packages.


Genuine question, does that apply to packages delivered by ups or FedEx?


It does not.


Police departments have major limitations on manpower and budgets. Setting up sting operations with fake packages, surveillance, and all this stuff is going to be extremely expensive on both accounts. And the ultimate reward is that you just busted a guy who either committed a very minor felony which some states, such as California, are even moving to change to a misdemeanor. And I'd imagine a decent number of the offenders are not exactly financially well to do, meaning they may not even be able to pay the fines to recoup some of the costs involved in busting them.

Think about the sort of petty offenses that are more actively pursued. You'll almost always find they tend to be low execution cost with a high probability of receiving payment: traffic violations, prostitution stings, drug related stuff, etc.


It is creating crime which otherwise may not have existed. Maybe it's a small number of violators (do you have a citaton?) or maybe it's just a few opportunistic kids. I'd really need to see a cost/benefit analysis (not just monetary but social too).


A sting which leaves typical, well-tracked target property in known problem locations isn't really manufacturing extra crime. (For example, it's not like the active entrapment of offering someone money, or verbal encouragement, to commit a criminal act they wouldn't have thought of themselves.)

It instead captures existing roving criminal intent – perhaps redirecting it from a less-ready victim. And when the bait is taken, an actual crime occurs – in destruction or taking of another's property.

And often, when a bust is made in relation to a single such crime – such as by tracking the stolen item back to the thief's staging areas or accomplices – evidence of other similar crimes is found as well.


> It is creating crime which otherwise may not have existed

There is nuance here. While I am traditionally against entrapment, I don't believe this crosses that line. If the police were surreptitiously encouraging the theft it might be different.

> I'd really need to see a cost/benefit analysis

It's a bit hard to quantify peace of mind or be able to correlate changes in theft counts due to sample size issues and the myriad of other reasons why theft counts may change.


I mean I'm for it if there's suspicion of a single offender. But in that case they could probably monitor the houses that they hit regularly and catch them in the act. This feels more like a broad net to attempt to bump some statistics.


They aren’t just stealing dummy packages though. If a worker would steal a dummy package, they would steal a “real” package. And those loses mean we all pay more for stuff. Theft, even petty stuff like shoplifting means everything costs more — and that’s regressive; poor people would be disproportionately affected by increased costs due to theft.


By that standard, when the homeowners leave packages outside after delivery they’re also “creating crime”.

It’s perfectly legal and ethical to leave a package outside. What’s not ethical or legal is stealing other people’s property. The criminals are the ones creating crime, not the people trying to catch the criminals.


So far as I know, my city uses bait bikes.


Not a new idea: few years ago police here planted GPA trackers in packages to catch a thief repeatedly stealing from our subdivision package box. It turned out the packages ended up at the home of the newspaper delivery person.


Did he get the job, or was his GPA too low?


this made me laugh way too hard

good one :) I mean tbh its not that great, anyone could see it, but still caused me to laugh so I say that's pretty good.


On the other hand, If you have any used motor oil or hazardous waste to dispose of, you can place it in an Amazon box and leave it on your doorstep.


Pretty much guaranteeing improper disposal. I highly doubt anyone who steals packages off doorsteps is going to bother to dispose of substances like that correctly.


I had a package stolen a few weeks back, for the first time as far as I know. It was Disney Baby Swaddles. Guy was pretty derro (dodgy) looking guy. I hope he enjoyed his swaddles.

Caught him on my Ring camera sadly my front door is an alcove that is about 1m deep so the motion detection only triggers at the last second. Thus I only got him as he was turning around and got the side of his face and not the front.


Surprised Ring doesn’t have a buffer to pull from to go back in time for motion detection (typing on phone or I would go look).

Blue Iris and most NVR software lets you specify an arbitrary length buffer. It eats some memory, but nice to get context. I very much doubt Ring exposes an RTSP stream locally though.


The problem is that my ring is battery powered, so the camera is not always recording. It's triggered by the motion detection which is PIR.

In most situations it has a fairly long (many meters view) of people approaching but unfortunately due to the alcove my door is in people literally appear <1m away from it. And while it starts recording pretty fast there is maybe a 1-2 second delay.


This is a perfect example of yet another valley startup that has eschewed industry standards to the detriment of functionality, but mastered convenience and marketing. I hate that it works so well, but the market says I'm the one who is wrong.


In Germany the packages are usually given to a neighbor. Amazon's own delivery service sometimes leaves it in front of your door, but mostly in houses with multiple flats. When it's gone, they just deliver again.

Does it work differently in the US, so are packages usually left at the doorstep?


Yes, I have packages left on my doorstep constantly. I live in an area where package theft is uncommon (I’ve never experienced it or had a neighbor tell me they have), so just dropping packages on my porch is extremely convenient.


A few decades ago, I remember it being quite common for packages to be left with a neighbor. Now it's pretty rare.

I'm not sure what changed. Perhaps people decided they prefer not to involve a third party. Or perhaps couriers just don't think it's economical to spend the time to knock one door and then another and then maybe another if the neighbor isn't home either.


In my experience: UPS has a program called MyChoice that let you specify what to do, but both them and USPS will usually leave it by the door out of sight if possible, unless the carrier is concerned about theft. FedEx will leave a note saying to come pick it up or request redelivery. In apartment buildings, all of them the will leave the package with the office if one exists.

I would bet most people getting regular package deliveries live in access controlled apartment buildings or very safe suburbs.


here in UK, you get a few options: you can leave it with a neighbour, or specify a place to leave it, or try again at another time, and probably a few more I forget.

I'd be surprised if I saw anyone's parcel just sitting on their front doorstep


Just read about this a few days ago in the local news, they caught one in Aloha/Beaverton, Oregon (about 30 minutes west of Portland, OR)

https://www.kptv.com/news/deputies-delivery-driver-for-amazo...

This is where a lot of Intel employees live as Intel's headquarters are here, just to give a picture of the area.


> Intel's headquarters are here

Do people refer to Hillsboro as Intel HQ? There sure are a lot of folks there, but down in SV people seem to think they're at HQ. I don't work for Intel, but my startup went through their accelerator a few years back and I met a bunch of people through the program.


Hrm, maybe I'm wrong about that. But they have at least 4 campuses in this area that i have seen and cover a massive footprint. Maybe it is better for me to refer to it as manufacturing headquarters. When I moved here I was pleasantly surprised to learn that most of their product was manufactured here as opposed to foreign.

I even became friends with one of the technicians on the "binning" team, who tests all the chips and determined what clock speeds they will be sold as.


Similar has occurred recently in Fort Worth dubbed "Operation Grinch Pinch".


I'm using Paketsafe for 1.5 years, pretty happy with it. The welcro came off the lid with time but I just glued it back with silicone. The bag itself is steel-lined.

https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01L7DYJD2


One of the big advantages of living in a high-rise with a doorperson is not having to worry about getting packages...


Or having a job. I've only worked at one place that didn't allow delivering packages and they relented a few years ago.


I am curious though, do they notify the home owner the package is not theres. what if the home owner takes it in? Curious


Amazon and others now send you a picture of the package on your doorstep, so I guess they'd let you know?


I often wondered what's the point of that. I received the delivery email, I am still not at home, what would a picture do that the email doesn't?


One nice thing about the photos is that when they deliver to the neighbor's house by mistake, you can see from the photo that that's where it is and that it hasn't been stolen.


Sometimes they hide the package for you, and they send you a picture so you can find it.


Never had that experience, but I presume to prove it was delivered?


Photos also prevent customers taking advantage of companies who are ready to refund or replace “stolen” packages.


How so? Presumably packages are generally stolen after they've been delivered? So their photo proves it was on my porch, but it doesn't disprove that someone came along and stole it shortly after it was delivered... (my camera provides that video, however).


I once got a delivery notification, and when I got home he package wasn’t there. I thought someone stole, but then I read on the delivery notes that the package was put inside the mailbox.

It was 24 cans of soda and several other items. No way it was actually delivered that way.

So either it wasn’t and the delivery person lied, maybe to still get the delivery as completed (and therefore paid or count against a quota), or it was delivered and then stolen. I had no idea what it was, but called Amazon saying that I never received the package, and mentioned its delivery notes said the very large package was put inside the mailbox, clearly impossible. They re-sent my order promptly.

My point is that it’s super easy to say “hey Amazon you never delivered, send it again”. The picture is for the consumer as much as it is for Amazon, now they have irrefutable evidence that the package was in the right place for a while.


Ah, that makes more sense. Yes, since delivery drivers can have impossible quotas / inefficient-but-mandatory routes etc. they have been known to throw things over fences etc., requiring a photo 'on the porch' does counter that (if not the rest of the catch-22).


Guessing the homeowners are in on it if they're using hidden doorbell cameras.


We have some cheap furniture on the front porch which they can hide the package behind which they usually do.


poor title. the police did this, not amazon.


[flagged]


Maybe they should focus on fighting against the war on drugs.


Hah! That leaves me free to steal everybody's packages because I don't have a drug habit. Some poor schmuck will end up being suspected.


what?


Do you have any evidence to back this up, or are you just speculating?


It could also be spoiled teens raised by lousy parents.

/snark


Amazon may be big, but the CIA knocks over entire countries. Seems like a good way to jeopardize their own military-industrial complex play, as well.


Good to see private enterprise stepping in to show leadership on solving social problems (e.g. property crime) that the government has failed to take any initiative on.


I always think when I see criticisms of the failure of the US system to solve problems like this that maybe you should all get together and make some sort of collective system, lets call it a 'government' and then everyone should pay some money towards it, we could call it 'taxes' and see how that works. I'm Australian though, we all pay taxes and things are funded, people still complain but seems to work. Granted perhaps some of the tax money is wasted, and maybe we pay more than we should if it was all farmed out to private enterprise but it seems the alternatives are worse. IMHO if you pay less and less taxes then social systems will fail, you may call it socialism, or communism or whatever but personally I'd prefer paying just a little bit more and have those systems work. I prefer it to extreme capitalism, or whatever the current US system is called.


Australian here. The US government spends more than ours by gdp percentage and we have very similar tax burdens.

Your comment reads like you think we live in Sweden.


Yes I did think that when I said it (re sweden), but if they spend more by gdp why does it seem their systems have so many troubles? I find that very confusing, maybe the flaw is the amount of privatisation? I've worked in a few corporate and government positions and the idea that private enterprise is efficient I find a bit of a giggle, maybe its just BS?

Edit: it is strange, here's the US breakdown https://www.nationalpriorities.org/budget-basics/federal-bud... and the australian breakdown https://www.taxsuperandyou.gov.au/node/131/take. The US spends a bit more on defence, but not as much as I thought it would and spends more on health than aus does (as % of GDP). Though not sure if this includes state taxes, maybe someone more knowledgable in these things can explain


Consider the several major factors in a given theft:

- economic hardship and/or thrill-seeking behavior - the former is influenced by economic conditions, economic equality and substance abuse

- perceived value of item

- perceived risk of getting caught

- perceived penalty if caught




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