‘Tis the season for package thieves

As you’re making your Black Friday shopping list, you may want to check where you’re sending your items if you order them online.

It’s the time of year for packages thieves – the season where your items are a crime of opportunity. Richland Police say criminals can easily scoop them up.

“This would be the peak time because everybody’s getting ready to wrap those presents or ship those presents, so they’re having everything shipped currently, you know, ahead of the holidays,” said Cerise Peck, Richland Police Department’s Crime Prevention Specialist. “It doesn’t typically ramp up right at Christmas. It’s the pre-Christmas time that the packages are delivered, and then they go missing.”

To avoid falling victim, send your items to work or have a neighbor pick it up from your front porch. If you live in an apartment complex, ask them to hold it at their front office. If none of those options are available, you can have the shipping company hold your items at their facility.

Ring cameras help deter thieves, but not necessarily catch them.

“It’s an easy snag, so if there’s a package sitting on somebody’s front porch, even if the individual has cameras — all they have to do is conceal their face, run up, grab it and run to the vehicle that’s waiting for them, and they got whatever it is that’s inside that box,” Peck explained.

The department’s Community and Policing (CAP) groups have featured videos of thieves. However, you’re still asked to report it to the police.