Beware of porch pirates

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Police are reminding holiday shoppers to be aware of packages being stolen from their doorsteps. So how can we can prevent these porch pirates from spoiling the holiday gift-giving?

With the holiday season approaching, 56 percent of shoppers say they will be doing their holiday purchases online, according to the National Retail Federation. 

But buyers beware when it comes to package delivery and porch pirates. Pleasant Grove police captain Britt Smith warned that “we have people drive through neighborhoods and areas” when talking about these thieves. “Then they just swing by and steal packages off the steps,” Smith said.

Shopping online can be a convenient way to exchange goods, but there is also a dark side to this process. A couple years ago, Cameron Kimball and his wife were getting ready to have their first baby, so they ordered a stroller from an online shopping website.

“We were out of town and we got a notification on our doorbell saying our package was dropped off,” said Kimball. When he called his sister to go over and take the package inside, his sister said by the time she showed up, “it was missing.”

According to a study done by security.org, Utah is ranked number ten in the nation for larceny theft. And with an expected 13 percent increase in online purchases over last year, people are taking precautions.

One online shopper shared his experience about losing a package and thinking it was stolen. Dallin Slavens commented, “It’s really easy for a package to go missing or get stolen.” He was lucky enough to find the package, but said, “If my wife and I know that we will be gone or not home by 5:00 that day, we have someone go pick up the package so that the fear of having it stolen can be subdued.”

There are many ways to prevent this porch theft, including asking neighbors and friends to be on the lookout. Captain Smith advised, “Have an arrangement with your neighbors or someone you trust that lives next door or across the street and help each other out.”

Packages are often left for hours on a doorstep without any kind of security. Smith continued, “When you see a neighbor has a package on their step, just go grab it and secure it in your home, and when you see that they are home, just go and deliver it to them.”

Installing security cameras in your home is also a good way to ensure safety. That’s how Cameron was able to catch the thief. He was notified on his phone through the camera installation app that his package arrived. When the package had gone missing, Kimball watched back the video to report the theft. “I had his face, his car. I saw his license plate and sent it to the police,” recalled Kimball. “Within three days, they found out who it was.”

As you look forward to celebrating the holiday season with friends and family through gift giving, be sure to stay safe. And if you have experienced a similar theft, be sure to contact your local police department.

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