Cyber Monday and Christmas Shoppers Targeted by Gang Thieves Swiping Deliveries From Doorsteps

POLICE have warned Cyber Monday and Christmas shoppers about porch pirates who steal packages from doorways.

It comes as millions of bargain hunters are expected to splash out more than £7bn on Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

As the early Christmas parcels start to arrive, police have urged online shoppers to be careful about where their gifts are delivered.

Organised gangs will target deliveries made by drivers dropping off items bought over the extended shopping weekend.

Crooks even wait outside courier depots to follow vans on their routes.

Drivers often pop parcels in porches and bins if no one is at home - leaving rich pickings for thieves.

One police force said: "Don't give a thief the opportunity to put your lovingly chosen presents under someone else's tree." Last year a Surrey resident had a Christmas package swiped from under his doormat by a porch pirate.

The victim, who didn't want to be named, said he'd only had the camera system installed a few days earlier.

He was at work when he got an alert on his phone saying there had been activity at his front door.

He said: "I was absolutely amazed [when I saw it]. It's a busy community with dog walkers and lots of mums around with kids during the day and that someone would be so brazen to do this shocked me quite a lot.

"The way they did it made me think this is not the first time they've done this. I think they've been doing it a lot in the area. They probably realise that nine out of 10 packages are not worth a lot but there would be other valuable ones that are high-ticket items." In a separate incident in December last year a man was recorded on CCTV walking off with a package left outside an address in Walsall, West Midlands.

The package contained £10 pyjamas intended as a gift for a three-year-old girl.

It comes as a consumer poll by F&C Investment Trust found Brits had collectively spent £19.2bn in sales throughout the year and were expected to splurge another £7.7bn on Black Friday and Cyber Monday cut-price deals.

A British Retail Consortium spokesman said: "Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become a staple fixture of the calendar year and an important one for many retailers.

"While it is too early to say how retailers have fared on Black Friday itself, we expect the weeks surrounding Black Friday to show some growth on last year.

"Whether the day itself breaks records will depend on how consumers have responded to the promotions offered this year." Surrey Police have this year renewed their appeal for online shoppers to be vigilant.

A spokesman said: "Unattended parcels left outside your property could prove to be very enticing to an opportunist thief.

"Ordering online or opting for home delivery of goods is a popular way of purchasing presents, especially during the lead up to Christmas.

"To reduce the risk of theft you should always ensure that there is someone at home to receive your order. Alternatively, arrange for delivery to a neighbour or another address where it can be received on your behalf.

"Don't think that placing the item out of sight behind a plant pot makes it invisible; if a parcel can be left there, a thief can also easily find and take it.

"Many companies offer services where you can collect your goods at a convenient pick-up point - don't take any chances, don't give a thief the opportunity to put your lovingly chosen presents under someone else's tree." We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at or call 0207 782 4368 . You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.

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Brazil Olympics Will Use Surveillance System to Watch Entire Cities From the Sky
The eyes of the world will turn to Brazil come August, when the world's top athletes descend on the South American nation for the Summer Olympic Games. Fans, followers and whoever designs those cereal boxes will be watching for the next Michael Phelps, Carl Lewis or Nadia Comaneci. Many folks are also likely to take a good hard look at Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian host city known for poverty and crime where officials are scrambling to put on a pretty face before the games come to town.Although Olympic organizers are already cutting costs, law enforcement leaders aren't pinching pennies when it comes to trying to keep Rio safe. They're investing a lot of cash in camera system technologies to help cops stop crime as it's happening, and track down bad guys on the move.Simera is a wide-area motion imagery (WAMI) sensor system that draws on the power of 13 cameras and a bevy of sensors to capture a full range of activity across an entire city. The million dollar technology has largely been used in Middle East military surveillance settings (Simera is based on the Kestrel system, also produced by the company Logos Technolgies), but the camera system is also similar to eyes in the sky already perched over American cities like Baltimore and Chicago."Until now, WAMI sensors have been used either to protect U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan or have been tested for domestic law enforcement and border security," says John Marion, president of Logos Technologies, via press release. "This will be the first time that this sophisticated technology has been exported abroad."While experts say the vantage point will help stop crime and assist cops in catching bad guys, the technology also raises some privacy and other concerns."If it's used over a short term and for specific events, it makes a lot of sense," says Daniel Lawrence, a research associate at the Urban Institute's Justice Policy Center. "When we get into long-term use, then we get into questions about Big Brother."The camera system's usefulness as a law enforcement tool is pretty straightforward. Simera can pinpoint suspects who are acting suspiciously, whether that's by hanging out somewhere they shouldn't be or getting too close to others on the street. It can also track a person of interest over time, giving cops a snapshot about the suspect's activities over the course of a day or more.When police move in on a suspect, the camera can also follow the person if he or she tries to escape and help direct cops as they're hot on the trail. The company also envisions its system being used in disaster relief and in humanitarian emergencies - the entire system fits into two trailers and takes only two hours to set up.Still, not everyone is wild about the idea of government forces being able to watch their every move. Sure, we give up some rights to privacy when we go out in public, but that doesn't mean we expect Johnny Law to start stalking us on our next trip to the grocery store. Lawrence says the benefits of sensor and camera systems may be offset by impact on the relationship between a community and its police. If folks feel like they're being watched all of the time, they might not necessarily think the cops are looking out for them.The trick, Lawrence says is to use the cameras for a specific period of time and a particular purpose. "In terms of equipping police with cameras in a very local and short-term presence, community members may be willing to accept that," he says.
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