SPOKANE, Wash. - Package thefts are increasing during the holidays, especially now that people will begin receiving their orders from Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
The increase in home security systems though is helping cops track down brazen criminals, who will steal packages regardless the time of day.
Just this month, Spokane police released security camera footage showing a pair of porch pirates sneaking a package straight from a house and tossing it into a U-Haul truck. Police say those kinds of videos are helping them catch thieves.
"So many times so many of our officers are so good at remembering people through their faces or names, we'll try that. We also do put it on our Facebook, send it out to the media, because we really want the community to know we are trying to stop this," said John O'Brien, public information officer for the Spokane Police Department.
Even if the thief doesn't strike at your house, security footage can still come in handy.
"There have been some examples where we have neighbors' surveillance video picking up a suspect and vehicle. That helps us down the road to try and find that person," O'Brien said.
Home security systems can be expensive, but companies like Ring are trying to give you peace of mind at an affordable price. The company makes doorbells that capture video and allow homeowners to communicate with someone outside their house, even when they aren't home.
Those doorbells cost less than $200 and can help you shoo away a Scrooge looking to make a mess of your Christmas plans.
Of course, even with home security systems, making sure your packages aren't vulnerable to thieves is the first priority. Police say you should contact shipping companies to make sure your package can be delivered on a day and time you will be home. If you can't do that, have it shipped to a friend or a neighbor's house.
If you do have a package stolen, notify law enforcement right away.
"If you're a homeowner and you come home after a busy day at work and you realize your package has been stolen, call Crime Check and report it. We need to know where these thefts are taking place," said O'Brien.
Police also say it's important to be good neighbors. If you notice someone remove a package from someone's porch in your neighborhood, call 911 immediately.
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