JCPD on the lookout for “porch pirates”

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Packages dropped off by delivery trucks are an increasing target for thieves.

There’s even a name for those thieves, “porch pirates.”

After learning about a recent string of “porch pirates” through the Next Door app in neighborhoods like the Tree Streets and Hillrise area, we asked how people can take extra precaution to protect their shipments.

“With an increase in packages there’s an increase in opportunity for people that are going to steal those,” said Capt. Scott Jenkins with the Johnson City Police Department, “they’re going to have more targets available.”

Capt. Jenkins said the increase in package thefts come with more online shopping and delivery.

“I think it’s because we have more people that are shopping that way,” he said, “they’re actually ordering more things offline that are being delivered most of the time during daylight hours and work hours when they are not there.”

Jenkins said many culprits will wait until no one is home or follow delivery trucks. Many times, they are hard to catch.

“The first thing they are going to do is look for the easiest package to get with the least amount of risk of getting caught,” he said.

Will Fleenor with Fleenor Security Systems said one way to make it more risky for thieves would be to invest in outdoor lighting, video surveillance and home security systems.

“If somebody approached your home and they see that you’ve got a sign posted that the property is under video surveillance or they have a camera that’s out in plain view,” he said, “now it makes them a little more apprehensive to come in and try to steal a package off the porch.”

Fleenor adds that sales of residential video surveillance has taken off in the last five to six years.

The post office offers informed delivery where you can track your shipments and get a notice when they arrive.

UPS has a similar service called “My Choice” and FedEx calls it “Delivery Manager.”

“There’s a handful of UPS and FedEx stations right around here, even within walking distance,” said Jamie Constantopoulos, a resident in the Tree Streets, “so I generally have my packages delivered there and then I don’t have to worry about it.”

Jenkins also suggests having a friend or neighbor retrieve packages when they arrive can be a safe option.

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