Chief David Bucknam of the Skowhegan Police Department, shown in 2020, has spearheaded a program that allows residents to have holiday packages delivered to the police station and held for safekeeping until they can be picked up. The program — Operation Safe Delivery — is meant to deter the theft of packages from homes’ front porches and steps. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

SKOWHEGAN — Porch pirates beware: Skowhegan might not be the best community to target this holiday season.

The Police Department for the second year has instituted its Operation Safe Delivery, whereby residents can have their holiday packages sent to the police station instead of their homes, and then pick them up within three days.

Police Chief David Bucknam launched the program last year after a family member suggested he do something in Skowhegan to help curb theft of packages during the holiday season, a crime that is happening increasingly across the United States as many more people shop online.

Bucknam said when people order items online, they can have them delivered to the Skowhegan Police Department, in care of the person ordering the package, at 225 Water St., Skowhegan, Maine 04976.

“Packages get delivered here,” Bucknam said, “and we like (residents) to pick them up within three days of delivery.”

One has to bring a photo ID when picking up a package, and the person must have the same name that appears on the package.


“It’s really simple,” Bucknam said.

The program, which began last Monday and continues through Dec. 22, also allows gift givers to ensure they get the packages before their children or other gift recipients see them, according to Bucknam.

In 2019, about 1.7 million packages were stolen or went missing every day in the United States, including 90,000 in New York City, according to a report last year by The New York Times.

Bucknam said he started the program late in the season last year and did not get a lot of people who took advantage of it, but the response he received was positive. This year, he posted a notice about it earlier on the department’s Facebook page and put up flyers to increase awareness.

The packages are placed into a room at the police station, where the alphabet is marked on the wall and packages are separated according to last names.

“When you show up with your ID, we just match it up,” Bucknam said.

Skowhegan has not seen a lot of package theft in the past, but with the increasing numbers nationwide, the Police Department wanted to be proactive in addressing the issue, according to Bucknam.

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