MONTREAL -- Montreal police are hoping to help people who make online purchases avoid package theft. 

Online purchases have seen a rise in popularity since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, given that stores across the city were forced to close and people were asked to stay indoors. Some people began to rely on the internet for purchases as routine as groceries. 

While there are indisputable perks to ordering merchandise online – especially in the context of a global pandemic – the practice comes with risks, Montreal police say. Thieves often target delivery trucks directly, or houses where packages were recently dropped off. 

The police force has outlined a few ways for people to avoid having their packages stolen: 

  • When ordering your goods, choose the delivery option that requires your signature. If you’re not home when the package is delivered, it will be brought to a nearby post office rather than left on your doorstep.
  • Instruct the delivery person to place your package in a safe bin outside of your home – if possible, one that locks. 
  • Ask a neighbour to pick up your package if they'll be home during the expected delivery time, or simply have the item delivered to a neighbour’s address if they’re always home.
  • Have your packages delivered to your workplace. 
  • Request to have your package delivered to a Canada Post safe deposit box (there is a fee).
  • If you have a surveillance camera, make sure it’s functional. If you don’t, consider having one installed. 

Customers have rights when they don't receive the items they've purchased online. Police are suggesting for people who have had their packages stolen to communicate with the customer rights group l’Office de la protection du consommateur by calling 1 888 672-2556, but they can also communicate with their local police stations.