Crime prevention tips
Protecting Your Deliveries: Top Tips for Package Theft Prevention
Package theft is an unfortunate reality, and it tends to surge, especially during the holiday season. With many packages being left at your doorstep without requiring a signature, opportunistic thieves may be eyeing your deliveries. They often tail delivery trucks from popular services like Amazon, UPS, FedEx, and the US Mail to strike once the loot is within their grasp. This crime of opportunity becomes all the more appealing when unattended parcels sit idly by your front door.
In an effort to assist our community in safeguarding their precious packages, Lake Forest Police presents a set of valuable package theft prevention tips:
- Track Your Package: Always request a tracking number. This enables you to keep an eye on the package's journey, providing a delivery time window and notifications upon delivery.
- Signature Delivery Option: Opt for a "Signature Delivery." This ensures that your package won't be left unattended; a signature is required upon delivery.
- Specify Delivery Time: When possible, schedule a specific delivery time and date when you'll be home to accept the package.
- Package Pickup: Arrange for your package to be held at the shipping service for pickup at your convenience.
- Workplace Delivery: Have your package delivered to your workplace to ensure someone is present to receive it.
- Neighborly Assistance: Consider having your package delivered to a trustworthy neighbor or relative who will be home to accept it. Ask them to safeguard it for you if possible.
- Neighborhood Watch: Engage your vigilant neighbors. Ask them to keep an eye out for your deliveries and, if willing, safeguard them until your return.
- Retail Store Pickup: If available, request delivery to a nearby retail store for convenient pickup.
- Alternative Drop-off Locations: If possible, have the delivery service leave the package at a side or back door. An enclosed porch that conceals packages from view is another good choice.
If your package fails to arrive as scheduled, make sure to contact the sender promptly. In case you suspect your package has been stolen, don't hesitate to reach out to the police immediately.
Community Watch: What to Do if You Witness Package Theft
If you happen to witness package theft in your neighborhood, here are the steps to follow:
- Do Not Intervene!
- Call 9-1-1 Immediately: Report the incident as a "crime in progress."
- Provide Descriptions: Furnish the call taker with a precise description of the suspect(s) and any vehicle involved in the theft.
- Detail Their Movements: If the suspect(s) have left the area, describe their mode of travel, such as on foot, in a vehicle, or on a bicycle, and the direction they headed.
Important Reminder: While being a responsible and vigilant neighbor is crucial, please remember not to attempt to intervene in the situation. Your safety is paramount, and it's best to let law enforcement handle any potential confrontations. Your timely call to 9-1-1 ensures that professionals can respond swiftly and appropriately. By staying vigilant and following these precautions, we can all contribute to a safer, more secure community, especially during times when package theft tends to be on the rise.
Please help us protect your stuff!
Home burglaries, car burglaries, auto thefts, the list goes on and on. The perpetrators of these crimes are looking for an easy target. Don't let that be you!
Many households already have deterrent measures but fail to use them regularly.
- Lock it up! It seems simple, but many burglaries and auto thefts result from unlocked doors or windows.
- Always lock your car and take your keys or fob with you. Remove or hide your belongings.
- Don't leave the doors or windows of your house unlocked.
- Don't leave your garage door open.
- Light it up! Thieves like dark, secluded places. Please don't give them a place to hide.
- Park your car in well-lighted areas
- Consider exterior motion lights all around your house and yard
- Use timers on inside lights
- Make it loud! Set your anti-theft alarms
- Your car has an anti-theft system; set it up every time you leave your vehicle, even in your driveway.
- Most households have burglar alarms. Use them! Even if you just leave for a jog or to walk the dog. Set them at night when you go to bed. Alarm-Stay typically sets just your perimeter devices (exterior doors and windows). Check with your alarm company if you are unsure how to set your alarm.
- Lights! Camera! Action!
- Video doorbells and exterior cameras are great tools to have in your toolbox. Strategically placed cameras can give you a full view of your property.
- Set up the apps with notifications to alert you when someone comes to your door or onto your property. When you are away, you will know if there are reasons for concern.
- You can share videos with the police to help with investigations for your or neighboring property.
- Uninvited visitors/solicitors
- The concept of a Ruse or Scam Burglary is old, but many of the scams that these bold burglars use are new. These generally occur during the day or early evening and start with a knock on the door or a doorbell ring. When the homeowner answers, they are greeted by someone usually posing as a landscaper, driveway sealer, utility worker, or City Employee. Many wear reflective vests, hard hats, and other workman-type clothing to help sell themselves as whom they are purporting to be. They are usually convincing in the roles they play and generally earn the homeowner's trust within a few minutes, convincing them they need to gain entry into the home or convince the homeowner to step outside to view some dangerous situation that they can fix. Once the homeowner is successfully distracted, associates enter the house, generally targeting the bedrooms where they search for valuables to steal. The entire ruse usually only lasts for 5 to 10 minutes. Once they leave, the unsuspecting homeowner finds items out of place and missing valuables.
- Reminder about door-to-door solicitors. In Lake Forest, solicitors must register with the City and obtain a permit and identification badge. Even if someone appears to have a City of Lake Forest solicitor badge, the police department recommends not opening your door. You can speak to them through the door. If you are interested, ask them to leave their information outside and contact them later. Do not be pressured into making a purchase or signing a contract, no matter how good the deal might sound. Do your research.
- If you see something, say something!
- Don't hesitate to call the police if you are concerned about any unusual activity on your property, block, or neighborhood.
vacation house watchHomeowners may notify the Police Department when their home will be vacant for an extended period of time (5 nights or longer) due to vacation or other circumstances.
Please be aware there could be times when our officers may not be able to check your home due to other community needs.
This link will take you to the online form which you can submit directly to the Police Department. If necessary, you may contact the department at the non-emergency number 847-234-2601. Be prepared to give the following information:
- Your name, address and telephone number
- Dates of departure and return
- What lights will be left on
- The name, address, and telephone number of anyone who has a key for your house or who will be checking on your residence.
ScamsWarmer weather seems to increase the number of scam complaints from citizens. The end of winter and beginning of spring and summer creates a great time for fraudsters to prey on unsuspecting homeowners. Very often, criminals will use various tactics to scheme money out of homeowners. For example: a driveway sealer who has leftover material and can offer a cut-rate deal since they are already in the area; a roofer working in the area who noticed your roof is in decline; a concrete company offering low cost repairs on your patio or sidewalk; any of these examples or others in which they insist on being paid in cash. If you did not contact a business for a particular service, beware! Very often these fraudsters will give an appearance of doing work, but in most cases, the work and materials are sub-par and the workers will be long gone before you realize how shoddy the work is.
Other scams to be aware of involve distraction techniques by one person which allows other in their crew to enter your home and burglarize you belongings while you are in another part of the house or property. Be cautious of these ruse tactics and suspicious of utility workers who need access to your home without prior notification: tree trimmers who request you accompany them to the backyard to inspect a "dead" tree (especially with the publicity surrounding the Emerald Ash Borer concerns); any type of service personnel who arrive unannounced and offer services you haven't requested. Many of these scammers process official-looking identification cards and uniforms. Legitimate workers will not balk at you calling to verify their authenticity. Be sure to look up the company phone number yourself, never call a number provided by the worker!
If you are approached by any of these types of persons and aren’t sure of their intentions, please don’t hesitate to call the Lake Forest Police at 847-234-2601 or 911 or the utility company to verify the legitimacy of the contact. For more information please see:
Voluntary Weapons Turn-In
The Lake Forest Police Department administers a Voluntary Weapons Turn-In Program where residents can turn firearms, weapons, old ammunition, and fireworks into the Police Department for destruction.
The purpose of the Weapons Turn-In Program is to reduce the likelihood of a tragic accident involving a firearm occurring within a residence in Lake Forest, especially involving a child. Any resident possessing a firearm or other weapon they no longer desire to own can drop it off at the Public Safety Building.
All firearms being dropped off should be unloaded.
Any resident who feels unsafe or uncomfortable about attempting to unload or transport a firearm for destruction should call the non-emergency police telephone number at 847-234-2601 and request that a police officer respond to pick up the firearm.