Porch pirates targeted by law enforcement

Porch bait. Packages used by deputies to catch porch pirates. Courtesy photo SCV Sheriff Station.

Porch pirates stealing packages delivered to Santa Clarita Valley doorsteps are proving to be this holiday season’s prime culprit for law enforcement.

“Thieves are always on the lookout for an easy target,” Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Capt. Robert Lewis said recently.

“By leaving gifts, boxes, bags and packages where crooks can see them – may leave you a victim and set you back financially to replace these items. Take a few extra seconds to ensure that your items are hidden and locked up,” he said.

Some tips suggested by local law enforcement include:

  • When possible, require a signature for any delivery you are expecting.
  • Track package deliveries via text or email so you know when they will arrive.
  • Have packages shipped to your workplace, or someplace where someone can receive it, so it doesn’t remain on your porch while you aren’t home.
  • Consider installing a home surveillance camera.

“If you’re expecting a package, try to be home to accept it or make arrangements to have it delivered at a time when someone is home,”  said Sgt. Derek Green of the Burbank Police Department.

“Make sure you set up email or text alerts upon delivery and consider having someone you trust accept the package on your behalf if you are unable to. You should also require a signature for packages, especially those which contain valuable items,” Green said.

“If you routinely have packages delivered when you aren’t home, explore options for delivery lockers or postal mail boxes,” he said.

“If anyone witnesses what appears to be a package theft, do your best to obtain a suspect description and vehicle license plate number, if applicable. Report suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency.”

SCV Sheriff deputies have come up with a battle plan to catch porch pirates.

Crime Prevention Unit deputies have been placing fake packages outside residents’ homes (with the permission of residents, of course) to help catch thieves, said Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff Station.

Package thefts usually increase during the holiday season, she said this past week.

Crime Prevention Sgt. Dan Dantice said, “There are some people just out looking for packages to steal.

“We want to catch the ones that are stealing someone’s package right off of their front porch.”

Although deputies are on the lookout for package thieves, Dantice reminds residents to take preventative steps with scheduled package deliveries.

“Sign up for alerts from UPS or USPS so that you can get email or text notifications for when your package is arriving,” added Dantice. “Make arrangements to be home, or have a neighbor pick it up for you. Don’t leave it sitting out.”

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