It’s that time of year again, where package thefts are on the rise. As people order more packages during the holiday season for gifts, more and more ‘porch-pockets’ are picking up prizes. Phoenix resident Jacob Pritchett is looking for ways to fight back. Pritchett experienced a theft himself, the thief taking the package shamelessly right off of Pritchett’s porch.
Pritchett said of the incident, “[They] walked here… their face was uncovered. They came up to the door, they stooped down. They picked it up and kind of hopped and skipped and walked away.”
Pritchett says he got a motion detection notification on his doorbell camera just 30 minutes after his Xbox was delivered.
Following the incident, Pritchett wanted to do something about it. Pritchett says, “I looked to see if there is some type of resource specifically for telling people about these kinds of thefts in the area, and I didn’t see anything.” So, Pritchett opted to take matters into his own hands. With the help of his wife, the couple created a website called ‘The Plank’.
The Plank’s purpose is to solicit tips about crimes of this nature to supplement law enforcement. Pritchett says of the website, “It’s good when neighbors can look out for each other. This can give people a central resource. They can see these kinds of things; we can email people who sign up. We already have a newsletter.”
‘The Plank’ Aims to Deter Arizona Thieves
The site allows users to give details about theft and can include pictures and videos in their tp as well. All of the tips are published through Pritchett, so users have the option of remaining anonymous. Ashley Pritchett says, “I think it prevents the criminals from doing it as well if they’re seeing their face plastered everywhere.”
Although the holiday season is always a busier time of year than normal for deliveries, it has certainly been heightened due to the pandemic. For example, online shopping became a whole lot more popular in 2020, and many aren’t going back. With that being said, it’s important to be prepared for thieves more than ever before as well. Pritchett says, “It affects the businesses that are sending you the packages. It affects credit card companies. It affects the delivery companies, and it affects the people who were stolen from and whoever they were going to give gifts to. If we are able to catch just a couple of these people or something, it would be cathartic for everybody.”
Efforts Seem to Match Similar Efforts Made by a Popular App
The website draws parallels with the popular smartphone app Citizen. Although Citizen is not active everywhere, it’s mostly utilized in bigger cities. Citizen send its’ users location-based safety alerts in real-time. Citizen also allows user to track their friends and will alert users if someone in their friend circle was near an incident. The app then prompts you to check up on them.
Citizen users have the ability to leave comments on reports as well.