Porch pirates are on the prowl more this holiday season, Lincoln Police data show

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Lincoln Police say there’s been an increase in package thefts since 2021 and are warning the public to keep an eye out for porch pirates.

Last year during the first week of December, there were three reports of package thefts, worth a total of $2,124, police said.

That same week in 2022, there were nine reported thefts, and those packages were worth a total of $3,297.

Over the entirety of 2021, there were 207 package thefts for a total loss of $53,955, according to the Lincoln Police Department.

As of Dec. 7, there have been 213 package thefts in 2022 for a total loss of $47,566, LPD said.

SEE ALSO: USPS warns of ‘mail theft epidemic’; three cases in Lincoln in last week

Chief Teresa Ewins said these thefts are often crimes of opportunity, so people should check their security cameras often and grab their packages right away when they’re delivered.

“They drive through neighborhoods. They might follow UPS or FedEx or the mail person; that does happen,” she said. “We have to make sure that our public is aware that Ring cameras, any cameras that you have on your house, will help us find these people. So when it goes off, look at it.”

Police shared several ways you can prevent package theft, including scheduling deliveries for when you’ll be home, having packages delivered to a workplace or asking a friend or neighbor to collect your package if you aren’t home.

Some companies such as Amazon also allow you connect smart technology to your garage to allow delivery drivers to leave packages inside, safe and secure from porch pirates.

Ewins said overall, people just need to look out for their neighbors this time of year and shouldn’t be afraid to call police if they see something suspicious.

“If you see a car that’s constantly going up and down the street, you know there’s something wrong with that,” she said. “And so just call, we’ll check it out. We’ll find out what’s going on, and we’ll take it from there. Getting that information from video and people’s eyewitness statements, if packages are taken, is important.”

Police also said if you purchase any TVs, gaming devices, or other high-end equipment, avoid leaving the empty boxes out in the open when you take out your trash, so you don’t advertise the valuables in your home.

“Those big boxes, I know, can be cumbersome. There’s a lot of places in Lincoln to dispose of your cardboard and plastics,” she said. “When it comes to personal information, you also want to be very careful. You want to take the labels off with your personal information on it.”

Ewins said receipts can also give out your personal information, or even the last four digits of your credit or debit card number, so be careful how you dispose of them.

Police said stealing packages can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the items stolen.

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