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Online shopping has become very popular due to coronavirus restrictions, but virtual shoppers in south west London have seen a rise in thefts literally right on their doorsteps.
Dozens of residents in Wandsworth and surrounding boroughs shared experiences of having their parcels stolen in the last three months after they were left on doorsteps, behind bins or even in the bin by companies like Hermes, Amazon and Royal Mail.
The Met Police in Shaftesbury Ward warned residents about the rise in parcel thefts in the area on a neighbour social app, Nextdoor, this month.
Residents in south west London blame the rise in thefts on non-secure delivery methods used, claiming they give opportunities to thieves.
Ailish Duddy, 28, had two separate clothes deliveries from Hermes and Amazon stolen from her doorstep in Tooting Bec in January in the same week.
They were both stolen in the hour between her delivery notification and her checking her doorstep.
“It’s really frustrating, because the companies say it’s been left in a safe location, but I wouldn’t deem a doorstep to be safe,” she said.
A resident from Clapham Common added that he has seen two people in his area stealing parcels regularly, most notably over Christmas.
He said: “I saw them walking up the street carrying an Amazon box they were ripping open, examining the contents.
“They noticed that my direct opposite neighbour had a parcel on their front door. Two minutes later, they came back for it.
“They can be out and in in 15 seconds. No one should be allowed to leave parcels in plain view if they can’t hide it in some way.
“You don’t leave your door open but you’re leaving goods on your front door. That’s kind of crackers.”
He filmed the incident on his security camera outside his door, and showed the video to the police but nothing was followed up.
Filming thieves in the act has been a popular response the problem.
Home security cameras for outside residents’ doors have made the 11th, 16th and 17th best seller products in Amazon’s ‘Amazon Devices and Accessories’ department this month, sometimes rating more popular on the site than kindles and tablets.
According to articles in the BBC, Guardian and The Daily Mail published over the last five years, delivery people are often on stressfully tight schedules with unrealistic targets.
This pressure is portrayed in Ken Loach’s 2019 film ‘Sorry we missed you’ about the life of a delivery driver and the conditions described allow little time to weigh up the secureness of different locations to leave parcels.
The Clapham Common resident said he was sympathetic to the difficult circumstances parcel thieves may be in.
He added: “A ten-pound gift going because someone has an addiction or family to feed as opposed to us losing our goods is not the end of the world.”
While these unsecure delivery methods continue, a lot of delivery companies now have pick up locations for parcels like convenience stores, newsagents and shopping centres which ensure your parcels are safe.
The Clapham resident suggested looking out for parcels left on neighbours’ doorsteps as a solution to the problem.
He said: “We know they’re taking them. We know why they’re taking them. But we all enjoy the convenience of having a parcel on our front door. So if we see a parcel on our neighbour’s front door – we should take it in.”
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