With Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales drawing tens of millions of customers to the internet to purchase things over the last week, porches across San Joaquin County are going to be filling up with packages soon.
And that means that the thieves are coming.
As part of his monthly address to his San Joaquin County constituents, Sheriff Pat Withrow encouraged all residents in the county to be aware of the uptick in thefts that come around this time of year – often described by law enforcement officials as “crimes of opportunity” that arise when thieves see something unattended.
By eliminating that opportunity and by collaborating with neighbors, Withrow said, residents can protect themselves from the commonly-occurring crimes like package thefts and vehicle break-ins during the holiday season.
“Don’t leave your packages out in plain sight if you’re out shopping – if you order something and it’s going to be delivered on the porch make sure that we either work with our neighbors to keep an eye out for it or you know when it’s being delivered,” Withrow said. “I know with Amazon now they take a picture and let you know when it arrives.
“We get hit with that a lot, so try and be as cognizant as you can of that and work together with your neighbors to keep each other safe.”
According to a market study conducted last holiday season, as many as 11 million Americans have had a package stolen off of their property within the last year – and just a few years ago companies like FedEx and UPS delivered more than 1 billion packages between Black Friday and Christmas Day. With the proliferation of online shopping and online-only outlets since that study in 2016, that number is expected to be far higher today.
A study by Shorr Packaging that shows the highest concentrations of package theft in the United States also puts the South County in the unenviable position of being in the middle of overlapping theft hot spots like San Jose, San Francisco, and Sacramento.
In addition to keeping a watchful eye out for packages and working with neighbors to thwart would-be thieves, experts recommend using things like Amazon lockers for packages that could be delivered while people are not going to be home – which are typically located in high-traffic areas with surveillance cameras that are not as convenient for thieves to target.
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