South County

North Kingstown police offer to receive package deliveries

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) -- It's a sign of the times.

North Kingstown police are now making an unusual offer to their residents: You can have your mail and shipment deliveries sent to the police station, instead of risking porch pirates strolling off with them.

"Due to the high incidence of 'porch pirating,' we are offering the ability for our town residents to have their deliveries sent to the Police Department at 8166 Post Road," a department employee said in a Facebook post Thursday.

To take advantage of the free service, they direct residents to call the department's non-emergency phone line, (401) 294-3316.

Residents must notify the department if a package is being delivered, and who will be picking up the package. Officers will also want to see proper identification for that person picking up the package.

The trend

It's not just Amazon churning out hundreds of thousands of packages every day and getting them to front porches, but the online retailer is often cited as a driver of the boom of home delivery.

With the proliferation of packages left on the porches came crooks looking for a five-finger discount, whether it's selling the items for cash or using the items themselves.

People have come up with many solutions to try to avoid the risk of someone passing by and stealing the package. Some choose to have items delivered to them at work. Others may ask a neighbor to pick up deliveries on the porch. Amazon itself will deliver to drop boxes.

Sometimes, you need an alternative, and that's where pickup and drop-off services have started cropping up. Most are informal, free and spread by word of mouth.

Shippers like FedEx and UPS are sometimes able to re-route their packages to different addresses, or order them held at a storefront. But no business appears to have stepped up for the dedicated, clear service of receiving and holding packages.

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