TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It’s that time of year; billions of dollars have been spent on Cyber Monday and that means millions of deliveries will be left on doorsteps.
This creates prime opportunities for thieves hoping to get away with gifts. That’s why one Tucson man is going the extra mile to protect his neighbor’s Christmas gifts from falling into the wrong hands.
Michael Dunn has lived near Lakeside Park in southeast Tucson for 27 years. He says he got sick of all the property crime in the area and decided to do something about it. So, Dunn created a community-wide watch program more than a month ago.
“It’s called ‘MADNOW’, which stands for ‘Multiple Areas Districts and Neighborhoods on Watch’,” he said.
With the holiday shopping season underway, Dunn believes package thieves are already lurking.
“I have cameras in my house that point right out into Sarnoff and I will sit there and watch the Amazon truck go by … and then a few minutes later, another vehicle will go by right behind it,” said Dunn.
“I have heard of people following the delivery trucks and delivery drivers to see where a package is going to be delivered,” said Deputy James Allerton, a Public Information Officer for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.
Allerton says even in broad daylight, thieves will swoop in and grab a package if the opportunity presents itself.
That’s why Dunn says he’s installed several hidden cameras on his property. He’s also put up cameras on most of his neighbors’ homes. However, Dunn says the cameras are more for catching criminal activity “after-the-fact”. According to Dunn, the best way for people to protect themselves from package thieves is by getting to know their neighbors.
“[We need to] get people to go out and meet their neighbors, know what their neighbors do, know if their cars are coming and going,” he said. “That way, if someone is in the area that shouldn’t be, you can report suspicious activity. Just call it in, it doesn’t take more than two minutes to call TPD.”
Dunn says it doesn’t take much to be a good neighbor.
“If you are sitting at home and you noticed that your neighbor got a package delivered, go over there, put a note in their door,” he said. “Tell them ‘Hey Bob, I have your package here at my house. Swing by and I’ll give it to you’. It gets you to know your neighbor and everybody is happy … except for the criminals!”
If you're still planning on doing some online shopping, many stores will now let you buy online and pick up in the store. If you're buying from Amazon, you can get it shipped to one of their lockers. Getting packages shipped to your place of work is another way to prevent theft.
Dunn says he’s ready to help anyone in need of assistance install their cameras. MADNOW consists of nearly 40 members, but Dunn is hoping to expand the program to the rest of the city. Anyone interested in joining the neighborhood watch group can email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A fund has also been set up for those impacted by property crime. To donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/madnowst