Tuesday, October 27, 2015

RETURN TO SENDER: Police Department Rejects Package Theft Reports — And You Won't Believe Why

Making it difficult to report crimes is a great way to keep Chicago's impossibly low crime rates heading in a downward direction. Just when we thought we'd heard every hoop and hurdle that can be thrown in a citizen's way as they try to file a report, we caught wind of a doozy.
Twitter DM from the man whose package was "not" stolen.

According to not one, but two area residents who contacted us independently, the Chicago Police Department has refused to accept reports of package thefts from local doorsteps because—here it comes—the packages were never in the victims' physical possession.

In one case, a neighbor saw the theft take place. But that wasn't good enough for the Chicago Police Department, which refused to accept the man's report.

The other tale comes from our pal W.H. Thompson at HeyJackass:
I had video of the event and a good description of the thief. I filled out the online form with no issues, but a week later it came back as not being a valid online submission because the theft took place outside of the residence. Porches don’t count. I had to resubmit through whatever number they gave, which of course I did not.
Who would call at that point? Why bother waiting on hold and telling the story again?

The Manipulators

Rejecting valid reports is just one way that the city continues to drive down the number of crime reports in Chicago. Chicago magazine published an award-winning two-part series on the topic last year. And we've come across innumerable examples on our own:

When police manpower is slashed nearly 30%, citizens are required to file many types of crime reports over the phone—if they can endure the sometimes-lengthy hold times.

Citizen  directed to file police reports online recently found the task to be impossible. As we were first to report, the police department's website was rejecting every submission because it didn't recognize any address—even Chicago police headquarters—as being within the city limits. The department fixed the issue after mainstream media inquiries were made.

Another favorite "crime-cutting" technique is downgrading serious crimes such as burglary and robbery to lesser categories such as "theft from building" and "theft from person."

Last year, police infamously categorized a reader's phone theft as non-criminal "lost and found."

And a man in Wrigleyville who found himself surrounded by five offenders who then took his keys, wallet, and other valuables from his pants was not robbed. He was "pick pocketed."

In February, we found that the city was failing to include all crimes in it's highly-touted data portal, a web site that is used by major media outlets to generate statistics for their reporting.

Among the cases that was not listed? The robbery of Rahm Emanuel's own son.

Image: Reader photo of a package that had been emptied of its contents on Southport Avenue last week.
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58 comments:

  1. Pretty soon Chicago will be home to the misdemeanor homicide.

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    1. What's the difference? They're already punished as such.

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  2. Not to mention there is a sense of mistrust of police (I'm not speaking for myself but in general) after national events in the last few years. Think of all the people not even considering to file a report to begin with

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  3. I wonder if Hollywood would make a movie about this crazy stuff.

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  4. Thank God Amazon is awesome about refunding shipments never received due to theft. The best thing to do is to send your packages to a mail box service like The UPS Store and then stop-in and pick them up. I send ALL of MAIL to such a service.

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    1. I always did too in another neighborhood but when I stopped into the UPS store on Broadway to ask a price that woman was too busy knitting and couldn't have been more bothered by my mere presence. I had that large box shipped to my Loop office and lugged it home on the bus.

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    2. The UPS store at 3023 N. Clark is great. I do get packages sent there often. Also, last week when I wasn't home to receive a package, UPS left a sticky note and rerouted it to the UPS store automatically, for no charge. I asked about that at the store and the guy told me that UPS is apparently no longer going to make multiple delivery attempts, and instead, just going to reroute the package to a local UPS Access point/store. Sets my mind a bit at ease that they're less likely to just leave it there and instead will reroute it to be safely delivered the next day to an Access Point.

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    3. Same here! I went to try to rent a mailbox there, and the woman "working" there seemed so put out to even answer my questions about rates, box sizes, etc. #smh Can't win for losing here in this neighborhood, can we?

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    4. She's actually pretty infamous for her attitude. Many people have remarked about her to me over the years. It's actually just now a funny neighborhood joke.

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  5. I'm sure Tunney will work closely with someone on this. Maybe UPS?

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    1. Tunney can work closely with my ASS.

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  6. As an attorney, I say this whole "its not in your possession" thing is complete horseshit. If the person was the owner of the property (and they were), and some one else took it (they did), that's a crime. Just more lies and manipulation by the 9 digit midget and his minions.

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    1. this is too funny, thank you!!!

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    2. Objection. It's the 9 1/2 digit midget, and I just hope Michael Moore will take it upon himself to one day make a documentary "9 1/2 Digits".

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  7. The City of Probation.

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  8. What a friggin' joke. No wonder people are leaving the neighborhood and the city.

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    1. The other 1/2 will leave once those rent prices skyrocket higher after the property tax increase. Is that city begging for abandonment?

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  9. Speaking of the results of a lack of manpower, I can't independently verify if this true, but I've heard several reports that a gang of car thieves is using a freaking TOW TRUCK to steal cars in the middle of the day. They just pull up to a car on the street or in a drive, act all official, hook up the car, and just tow it away. Supposedly, in response to one report of a car being stolen by guys driving a tow truck, the police told them that thieves did the same thing . . . to a policeman's car from a CPD station lot on S. Michigan! WTF?

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    1. I think someone from the SCC blog had commented that a car was stolen from CPD HQ. You have to admire the sheer brass balls on that guy who did it.

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    2. That's been going on for decades. Even my 75 year old mother caught onto what was up the second she parallel parked.

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  10. People, This is getting old, have your items delivered either to your workplace, or a local UPS Access Point: here's a link. Let's stop these people from even thinking of coming into our neighborhood.
    https://www.ups.com/content/us/en/resources/service/access-point-receiver.html

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    1. Exactly. I have been using such a service for the past 15 yrs as I spend A LOT of time overseas. Just makes sense.

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    2. Signature required works pretty good, too.
      Fortunately we have Felipe, the best driver in the entire UPS fleet, that all should hold as a standard. He know his people and would never leave an unattended package.
      FedEx is another story. They won't even ring the bell (I work from home) and leave stuff that I am waiting for or at best, they ring and run and won't even answer the intercom.
      How FedEx pulls off staying in business is beyond me. Avoid FedEx at all costs.
      I'll bet the lion's share of these complaints aren't UPS but FedEx. And certainly not in the area of Lakeview that is Felipe's territory . . .

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    3. The point is...we shouldn't have to. We shouldn't have to worry about crime being committed and if it is...we should have the support of the law behind us...which it isn't seeing as how the police seem to want to pass the buck and make it somebody else's problem.

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    4. My complaints for the 5 years I've lived in this neighborhood are _ALL_ about UPS deliveries. They leave sticky note notices without even ringing the buzzer (I've been home waiting for the damn package!) and generally are atrocious. That's why I just direct packages to the UPS store locally whenever I can because at least then, I know I'll get my package.

      I have little to no experience with FedEx, but somehow those packages manage to make it inside my building lobby and are there when I come home. Also, I have fantastic neighbors who grab packages and put them by my door, and I do the same for them. So nothing sits in the lobby to be seen by creeps. Benefit of a small building, I guess, and having been here for 5 years.

      So my best advice beyond diverting to the local FedEx or UPS store is to make nice with your neighbors. I'm at least familiar with half my neighbors, and friends with a few. They grab packages for me and I for them. It's a neighborly thing to do. In a bigger building, I don't know, but helping your neighbors by not leaving packages tantalizingly in a glass lobby is a wonderfully nice thing to do and it's helped me cultivate friendships with my neighbors.

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    5. If there's a nearby local business, ask if you can have packages sent there. There's an antique store in my building and I get my packages sent there. That way there's always someone to receive it and to watch over it till I can pick it up.

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    6. Don't bother your neighbors or a nearby business. Get yourself a UPS Store box and be done with it.

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. I am sure Tinker would suggest that you hire security for your front porches to secure your delivery.

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  13. At CWB I saw the shout out to you in Crain's and wanted to congratulate you. Please keep reporting you make such a huge difference and the mainstream media is starting to take note. Thanks for all you do!

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    1. Thank you for your support. We greatly appreciate your kind words.

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  14. I live in Buena Park and have all my packaged shipped to my work. We just got a notice from our association that theft (from inside!) is an on-going problem. We have some pretty low-brow renters, very shady. I was going to chip in and buy them a higher grade of pot (I can't smell the stench of skunk weed) but next time I'll just call the cops. I bet the thefts slow down then.

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  15. As a district copper this stuff makes me crazy, what little respect we receive from the public, due to politicians in our state, you can't take a 2 minute report. Unbelievable.

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    1. Please understand clearly Officer that the vast, vast majority of people who I know view you and your fellow Officers as heroic, more so now than ever given the dwindling number of you.

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    2. I second that ^
      We appreciate your work with what resources you are given.

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  16. In the past 4 1/2 years, my building of five units has had more than 50 packages stolen. We don't even bother filing a police report, just contact the seller and file a claim that way. I've gotten to know my regular mail carriers well, and they know to deliver all packages to the property to me, since I work from home and am there 95% of the time.

    However FedEx and sometimes the non-regular postal people and the UPS drivers who are not our regular guy will often just leave packages on the porch in plain view. This is a particularly problematic thing for me, since I often order ammunition and firearm parts, and some of those are clearly marked with an ordinance sticker. So, it's entirely a possibility that one of those thefts could result in ammunition or spare handgun barrels ending up in criminal hands and being used by gang members who buy them from thieves. And yes, they do that; I work as a journalist and researcher, and this is something that I've actually investigated for assignments.

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    1. Well if you know this happens I have to say you are pretty darn irresponsible for having ammunition and gun parts shipped in a manner that would allow them to be stolen. Be a good citizen and send them to a secure location - like the UPS Store. I mean, seriously, get with the times amigo.

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    2. why do you still live in a building that gets a package stolen every month?

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  17. Looney Tunney is to involved with keeping those evil food carts away from his filthy restaurants to spend time on irrelevant topics like crime.

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  18. Maybe, just maybe those items should be signature only ? Ya think ?

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  19. Tunney has plenty of time to get the food carts out of his ward. I just wish he would spend that time in increasing the police and get the criminals out too.

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    1. RIGHT!
      Except leave the food carts alone.
      Amazing how much time these clowns give to the things that 'Really Matter'.
      Here we must give credit to Mr Social Work Jim Cappleman and also to Michelle Smith ... for Nothing! No Action. No Results. Zero.
      WTH do you think matters more here????

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  20. I'm a Veteran Police Officer working city wide, my first time on this site. I don't know if this has been mentioned before, if Priority calls are backed up, all other calls are cleared by street Police Supervisor or Commander of district! This means if there are 30 non-priority calls waiting to be serviced, they are cleared and Police never respond to them! People die because we are so short of manpower. Back in the day, all service calls were responded to, and they want to raise all sorts of fees and taxes.

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  21. The "Lame Stream Media" will spend fifteen minutes in a half hour long news cast on weather & sports yet, the stories that matter are tossed aside or given two seconds of attention. Thank you CWB for being here!

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    1. This evening Chicago's superb Channel 2 CBS / WBBN, reported that a tree fell down. It might have been decayed.
      100% true. No joke. 6 PM news.

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    2. if it is not reported there is no crime

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  22. Earlier this year, I read this article about staff shortages:

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150120/OPINION/150119863/time-for-science-to-trump-politics-self-interest-in-police-staffing

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  23. So let me get this straight. There is no crime if the property is not yet in your possession, right?

    Using that logic, I can head off to the railyards, find a boxcar loaded with flat screen TV's headed for Best Buy, take all of them, and there is no crime because Best Buy never received them?

    NOT!

    Garry, CPD has enough problems without boneheaded policies like this. You really gave the hard working rank and file and black eye with this policy.

    Step up to the place. Do what's right. Change the policy. Or GTF out of Chicago.

    Call the next case. Not a cop.

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  24. The property technically belongs to the shipper until you take receipt. If the package is stolen off your front steps, it's technically the shipper's loss. That's how Amazon works with respect to refunds and so on.

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    1. Amazon's policies are not Illinois law. We've seen far more than our share of police reports for package thefts and arrest reports for persons charged with taking packages. The victims are the recipients in every case.

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    2. This is my last week reading you. Off to Tokyo next week once the condo closes and then Thailand. Can't say I'm going to miss this place.

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    3. I don't think that's how the law works, but generally speaking, if you do not receive merchandise that you ordered for whatever reason, the merchant has to refund you. Amazon makes it so easy to get a refund likely because they are such a huge company, it would cost them lots of $$$ in chargebacks if people went that route instead. Unless the merchant has your signature from the shipper, they really can't prove you got your parcel. Tracking numbers/delivery confirmation means nothing...just that the carrier scanned the parcel and left it somewhere (such as the wrong address - I've had that happen). Without a witness or security footage, it's hard to prove theft...but you should still get refunded for anything you paid for that you did not receive. Always follow up with the merchant and your credit card company.

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    4. That is how the law works. And, one example we gave, there was a witness. In the other example, there was video footage.

      Amazon's policies are not law. They are Amazon's policies to maintain good relations with their customers.

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    5. I was actually agreeing with you and disagreeing with the original poster. Amazon's policies are NOT the law. I was just explaining why I think Amazon likely has those policies. I know that in the examples you gave there was a witness/video footage (that's why I mentioned that...), I was talking about the MANY instances where those things are not available. I mean, if you get home and a parcel that was supposedly delivered isn't at your residence, it certainly may have been stolen, or the tracking info was wrong (I've had items that were supposed delivered show up 1-2 days after the fact), or it was delivered to the wrong address, or there was some other mishap on the part of UPS/USPS/FedEx. Happens all the time. I was just trying to advise people that even if they can't file a police report or if nothing comes of the report, they still shouldn't be out of luck in regards to the money they spent on the missing merchandise.

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  25. Let's start having the packages sent to either the alderman's office or the police station. Hopefully they will remain safe there until pick-up.

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    1. The only package I'd ever consider leaving at Tunney's office would be a flaming bag of dog turds on the front stoop.
      As for Jimmy 'Mr Social Work' Cappleman and Michelle 'Under a Rock' Smith.....that'd be a waste of dog turds. Though I gotta admit that "Dog Shit for Dipshits" has a certain poetic charm to it.

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  26. Perhaps formal complaints to the US Postmaster General in Washington are in order,

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