Spokane Police urging people to take extra steps to protect packages from thieves

SPOKANE, Wash. — It’s the season of gift giving, but it also means package thieves will be watching for any boxes up for grabs. With online sales on Black Friday up 22% this year compared to last year, more packages will head to front doors.

Spokane Police want you to keep an eye out for not only your gifts, but anyone that may seem suspicious. Packages have already been stolen off of porches this year in Spokane, like Kathy Lerew’s.

“It was actually a package of masks like the one I’m wearing so it was small,” she said. “Yes, it was highly irritating to be that short of a period of time. What, do I have to stand guard at my front door?”

Lerew said she got a notification from the post office that it was delivered. She waited a half hour before going outside to grab it. When she stepped onto her front porch, it was gone.

This is the second time she’s had a package stolen. The first time was when she lived in the Garland District. Three weeks ago, she was a victim at her Hillyard home.

“I was a little irritated and then I realized that it could be a potential problem,” Lerew said.

It’s a problem Spokane Police are familiar with.

“I think we can anticipate more vehicles following UPS trucks, more vehicles following USPS trucks, FedEx trucks,” said Officer Mark Brownell, connecting this anticipation to a rise in crime across the nation this year.

So what can you do to protect your packages?

Brownell said the key things are to stay vigilant and ask your neighbor to pick up your packages.

“I think we all just kind of need to be vigilant together to reduce it,” he said. “I don’t know that we’re going to stop it completely.”

Many companies also offer scheduled delivery so ask it to be delivered when you’re going to be home. If that’s not an option, several companies offer a pick up service at grocery stores and other secure locations.

Doorbell cameras are a good idea, but it’s not a complete deterrent.

“It brings peace of mind to neighborhood because they do the community sharing app and you get notifications and stuff like that,” Brownell explained. “But really it just comes down to taking that extra step.”

He said many people don’t report package thefts to police. Brownell is encouraging people to do this because if you had a package stolen, chances are it happened to other people in your neighborhood. Brownell said there’s a chance they can track down your boxes.

The best way to protect your package though is to not leave it on your porch.

“It’s also a crime of opportunity,” he said. “So if you’re going to leave your package out on your front door step while you’re gone for six hours and it’s in a well traveled area, yes, there’s a likelihood it could be taken.”

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