Steps to Take Towards Holiday Safety

Keeping Your Packages --and Yourself --Safe as You Get Ready

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DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) speaks about holiday season safety measures at Thursday's press conference. Screenshot: FacebookLive.

The holidays are coming and so are those packages, whether by delivery or hard-to-find items purchased through secondary marketing sites like Craigslist.

On Thursday morning DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), MPD chief Robert Contee and U.S. Postal Inspector Michael Martel spoke about how DC residents can help reduce package thefts –and keep themselves safe– throughout the upcoming holiday season.

Preventing Package Theft 

Bowser noted that last year MPD recorded a slight decrease in the number of stolen packages, but emphasized the importance of remaining vigilant and utilizing the resources available to reduce theft moving forward.

“We want this to be a safe, fun holiday season for everyone,” said Bowser. “While MPD is out patrolling, we also want residents to work together to keep holiday packages out of the wrong hands. Use alternative pickup sites, work with neighbors to bring deliveries in, use our camera program, and if you see something, say something by reporting it to MPD.”

Contee emphasized the need to plan ahead to prevent thefts. MPD recommends sending packages to Amazon lockers or postal stores for pick up, collaborating with neighbors and scheduling package delivery for when someone is home to help stop these crimes before they happen.

“We need to work together as a community to stop these crimes of opportunity from happening in the first place,” Contee said. “Have a plan ahead of time…have a plan for your packages before they get delivered.”

Marketplace Exchanges

MPD is also encouraging residents to utilize ‘Safe Exchange Zones’ for online platform transactions such as Facebook Marketplace or Craiglist. These zones are located at MPD stations around the District, including:

  • First District Station (101 M Street SW)
  • Second District Station (3320 Idaho Avenue NW)
  • Third District Station (1620 V Street NW)
  • Fourth District Station (6001 Georgia Avenue NW)
  • Fifth District Station (1805 Bladensburg Road NE)
  • Sixth District Station (5002 Hayes Street NE)
  • Seventh District Station (2455 Alabama Avenue SE)
  • Special Operations Division’s Harbor Patrol (550 Water Street SW)

Private Security Camera System Incentive Program

The camera incentive program, available to all DC residents, is another way to help keep your packages, home and businesses safe this holiday season.

The program provides rebates for cameras purchased up to $200 per camera and $500 per residential address. Additionally, DC residents who qualify for public assistance may receive a private security camera system at their address free of charge. The program is also available to assist residents, businesses, religious institutions and non profits.

More than 26,000 cameras have been installed across the District through the program, and Contee emphasized MPD’s commitment to follow up on the investigation of criminal activity.

“Residents of our city do not deserve to be victimized by people who want to commit crimes, whether they be violent crimes or property crimes,” said Contee. “Our department will continue to investigate these incidents that were committed by people who want to ruin the quality of life for our residents. We will follow every lead we can to ensure the victims get justice.”

You can learn more about the rebate and voucher installation programs here.

Sarah Payne is a general assignment reporter for Capital Community News. She can be reached at sarahp@hillrag.com.