Columbia Heights residents say stolen packages an ongoing problem in neighborhood

There is a warning for residents who live in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Northwest D.C. as thieves are stealing packages right off people's doorsteps.

Neighbors said they have noticed deliveries disappearing from their front steps more and more over the past few years. But homeowners are getting savvy about catching the thieves in the act.

On Thursday morning, a man got what he was looking for. However, the homeowner was watching the alleged thief from a home security camera linked to his phone.

The homeowner, William, told us he received an alert about the activity on his front porch.

"So naturally I went on my app to see what was going on and there is a series of videos that shows literally someone sitting on my doorstep until I realize that the gentleman walked up my doorstep, grabbed the Amazon package that I was looking for and ran off down the street with it," William said.

Andy Canning lives nearby and said his landlord warned him packages have been stolen here frequently over the past few years.

"I have heard them in passing and say make sure if you get a package delivered, that you are going to get it right away or try to queue it up so you get it on the weekend," he said.

Others seem to think it comes with the territory of living in the city as they continue to take their chances.

"We have had other packages stolen before," said Brianne Dornbush. "Little things -- flowers were stolen once -- my roommate got flowers and those were stolen."

William and his wife called police and filed a report. But it is not likely they will see the package again.

"Certainly going forward, I am going to think twice before having anything delivered to my front door," said William.

William said a police officer had noticed the suspect in the video walking in the neighborhood and is keeping an eye out.

So what can you do to protect your packages if you can't be at home for deliveries? A lot of delivery services offer alerts when packages arrive. But if you can't be there, the best thing to do is either have a neighbor watch out for it and hold onto it or arrange to pick it up at the closest facility. Sometimes it can be arranged to have it delivered on a weekend as well.