Technology

Amazon uses dummy parcels to catch thieves

Amazon parcels Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Amazon delivers millions of packages every day

Amazon has teamed up with police in the US in an effort to stop thieves who steal parcels left outside homes.

Officers in New Jersey are planting dummy boxes fitted with GPS trackers, coupled with hidden doorbell cameras, at homes around the city of Jersey.

The homes selected for the experiment were chosen using the city's own crime statistics combined with mapping data of theft locations supplied by Amazon.

One box was stolen three minutes after it was "delivered".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Having parcels left outside is convenient for many but is also a risk

Amazon told AP: "We appreciate the increased effort by local law enforcement to tackle package theft and remain committed to assisting however we can."

The US Postal Service expects to deliver about 900 million packages in the run-up to Christmas.

Last year, Amazon launched a service called Amazon Key that allowed homeowners with smart locks to let couriers open their doors via an app and leave parcels inside.

While that may be a step too far for many, there are other ways to protect deliveries:

  • Have them delivered to a workplace or a friend who is home during the day
  • Insist that deliveries must be signed for
  • Install cameras that will give police some video evidence
  • Use a service that provides a storage box drivers can unlock by entering a code on a keypad

Amazon also provides lockers for people to pick up parcels in locations such as shopping centres, convenience stores, airports, train stations and universities.

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