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Neighborhood warns of porch pirates after recent thefts

Joy Wang
November 20, 2017 07:06 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- It's the time of year when porch pirates take advantage of gifts and goodies delivered to the front door.

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Last week, home surveillance company Tableau released a heat map showing package thefts per capita. New Mexico had the fourth highest theft rate in the country.

Surveillance cameras caught some package thieves hitting one Albuquerque neighborhood in the Foothills near Tramway Boulevard over the weekend, and neighbors decided to take matters into their own hands.

The video shows a car pull up when a woman gets out. For a second she walks out of frame, and then there's the sound of a mailbox opening.

That woman comes back in sight with what looks like some mail in her hand. The car drives off and she tries to open another mailbox. No luck there.

"It's just a violation," said Melissa Smith, a neighborhood watch block captain. "It's just outrageous that this happens, and I think it happens everywhere and no one is immune to it. No neighbor in Albuquerque is immune to it.

Three people reported having their mail stolen that day.

"I think they coordinated this quite nicely, and we live in a quiet neighborhood and a lot of people are home during the daytime," Smith said. "So it's pretty bold and brazen that they would do it at 3:45 p.m."

To prevent crime, the neighborhood banded together. Residents shared the video, showing multiple angles of the same car and the same person, reporting it all to the postmaster inspector and police.

"If there's something odd or something suspicious, people will alert me and I try to piece together any correlation," Smith said. "And then I alert the crime prevention specialist at APD and I alert an officer if needed."

Because of all the mail thefts in this neighborhood, Smith actually installed a locked mailbox so that no one else can get to her mail.

"Cluster mailboxes are not necessarily a solution because those get broken into, and that's a bigger bang for the theft's buck because they can get multiple mailboxes all in one," she said.

Last year, she said they saw an uptick in this type of crime over the holidays.

"You feel somebody's taking your mail not only for probably trying to scan it for identity theft but packages," she said.

Now, neighbors help each other by picking up packages when someone isn't home or making sure larger items are kept on hold with the carrier.

Credits

Joy Wang

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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