How to avoid package theft around the holidays
Tips include having cameras, requiring a signature or using your work mailing address
With Christmas quickly approaching, many Summit County locals might be expecting an influx of packages ahead of the holiday.
While Summit County law enforcement officials said package theft isn’t common in the area, they have a variety of tips to ensure deliveries arrive safe and sound.
U.S. Postal Service spokesperson James Boxrud said mail theft is a felony federal offense, punishable by up to five years in prison. He said any customer who thinks they might be a victim of mail theft should report it to the Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455.
Silverthorne Police Department Chief John Minor said that since the town has so many year-round, full-time residents, “neighbors watching out for neighbors is one of our best prevention techniques.”
Minor added that several crimes have been prevented with the help of technology, which he said has become “relatively inexpensive” and “easy to deploy,” including cameras.
“It’s a very effective tool, and probably a great Christmas gift,” Minor wrote in an email. “… We have had several people relay live information to our officers via dispatch about suspicious activity around their homes and property.”
In a statement, UPS officials agreed package theft is pretty rare and that the increased presence of video doorbells and other security equipment has led to increased attention when an incident does occur.
Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said there have been no reports of package theft sent to his office so far this season.
Prevention tips from FitzSimons and other law enforcement officials include subscribing to available delivery alerts, providing specific delivery instructions, installing outdoor security camera systems, requesting a signature be required or having the package sent to work, family, friends or neighbors.
Dillon Police Department Chief Cale Osborn said while national numbers on package theft can be alarming, his office has also had no reports of package theft this holiday season. He said the fact that most folks in the county don’t get at-home mail service could be partially responsible for the county’s low numbers.
Osborn also recommended insuring packages when possible, ensuring someone is home at the time of delivery or using specialty storefronts as a shipping destination, like The UPS Store.
Home deliveries are still an option in Summit County for folks having items shipped through FedEx or UPS. FedEx spokesperson Shannon Davis said requesting a vacation hold for home deliveries is also a great option, allowing FedEx to hold a package for up to 14 days. She said any unattended delivery creates an opportunity for packages to be stolen before the resident collects them.
“The sheer volume of shipments expected this holiday season may create increased opportunities for so-called ‘porch pirates,’” Davis wrote in an email.
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