It's only a few weeks into the fall season, and like every year, the Fairfax County Police Department is seeing a slight increase in property thefts.
Property is being stolen from unlocked vehicles, and some residents' delivered packages are being stolen from their homes — a crime that the police department started to see more of last December.
MPO Gregory Kottemann said in the past, residents had to sign for packages. However, packages are now left on the front or back porches in plain view with increasing frequency.
"I have seen hundreds even thousands of dollars of merchandise just sitting on front porches," Kottemann said in a recent email. These items are now becoming easy targets for property theft and include anything from CDs to iPhones and TVs.
Kottemann said he's not sure why property theft increases in the county in certain seasons.
Kottemann said many people start to close their windows more, which makes it harder to hear suspicious activity and noises. Also, it gets dark earlier, so thiefs can go out to ply their trade before the really cold weather comes.
The Crime Prevention Office encourages residents to take precautions.
Kottemann suggests residents keep their vehicles locked and avoid leaving valuables on the seats of their cars. He said he has seen these crimes increase since the fall season began.
Kottemann also said he encourages people to make a plan if they have items being shipped to their homes. In a recent email, the Crime Prevention Office provided tips and information about staying safe and preventing property theft from residents' homes and vehicles.
- Make arrangements with a neighbor to be on the lookout for deliveries. Give them the date and approximate time of delivery. This still leaves the package exposed for a certain amount of time, however.
- Contact the shipper and have them hold your package at their local shipping hub for personal pickup.
- Select an alternate shipping location (office/work) where it can be delivered directly to you or a staff member.
- Create a secure box or area in which your regular delivery person can place your package and lock it up.