City of Lufkin offers advice for dealing with holiday theft

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) – As friends and family rush to find that perfect gift and start placing their online orders, their potential holiday joy can turn to heartbreak if that special package is raided by porch pirates.

Jessica Pebsworth, communications director for the City of Lufkin, said package theft is a greater issue during the holiday season.

“This is the busy season where people are maybe doing a little more online shopping than usual,” said Pebsworth. “Having large amounts of packages delivered to their door steps which will sometimes get left there throughout the day until they do return home which presents an opportunity for thieves to steal those items.”

According to national data from C + R Research, the number of respondents to their annual package theft statistics report who had a package stolen rose from 36% in 2019 to 43% in 2020. Of the 43% who had a package stolen, almost two-thirds (64%) said they’d been a victim of package theft more than once. Pebsworth said sometimes it is hard for police to retrieve stolen property after the theft has already occurred, but that most retailers are prepared to help.

“Sometimes we don’t have a lot of evidence that point to a suspect, so unfortunately it is difficult to get people reunited with their property,” said Pebsworth. “However when you order through reputable e-commerce sites, they typically tend to replace those items for you at no cost.”

There is one tool that is effective in combating package theft: video doorbells. In the same survey, half of the respondents had some kind of home video surveillance device to protect against theft. Pebsworth said that video surveillance is one of the best ways for police to solve a package theft crime.

“Anytime that we have video of a crime that’s always very helpful in solving it, so ring doorbells and any kind of surveillance system, those are things that we look to for evidence and that’s especially helpful this time of year again whenever package thefts are so common,” she said.

Written by Sevrin Lavenstein

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