Police in Jersey City have been placing fake Amazon packages outside people’s homes to catch thieves, reports the Associated Press. Using GPS trackers and doorbells cameras provided by Amazon, police are able to track and apprehend would-be thieves. The sting operation targets the most at-risk areas in the city identified from a combination of crime data and Amazon’s own theft reports.
The operation appears to have found some success. One package spent just three minutes on someone’s front porch Tuesday before it was swiped and the suspect caught by police. It’s unclear, however, what crime the person was charged with. Nevertheless, the mere existence of the program might be deterrent enough once word gets out.
Members of the police department who live in Jersey City have volunteered to have the cameras and boxes placed at their homes. Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly told The Associated Press that he hopes to expand the program, which has already been approved by a municipal prosecutor after a legal review.
This Jersey City sting follows similar operations across cities in New Mexico, California, and Oregon, according to the AP.
There’s little publically available data about how many packages are stolen from outside homes, but it’s a big enough issue for Amazon to have already launched numerous schemes to target the problem. These include automated locker systems as well as Amazon Key, which gives delivery drivers the ability to unlock the front door to drop a package safely inside a recipient’s home. Less hi-tech measures include nominating a neighbor to receive a package on your behalf, or having it delivered to a local collection center.
Amazon has reportedly used similar tactics in an attempt to catch dishonest delivery drivers. It has also subjected warehouse workers to lengthy security checkpoints on their way in and out of the building, while publicly shaming those suspected of theft.