Utah ranked 10th for states at risk for package theft. What can you do to protect yourself?

ST. GEORGE — With the holiday season rapidly approaching, online shopping from the beginning of November through the end of the year is projected to jump 13% from 2018 to $136 billion.

In a recent study from Security.org about package theft and “porch pirates,” Utah was raked No. 10 on the list of most at-risk states.

St. George Police Department public information officer Tiffany Atkin said that there are not many cases of package thefts in St. George per month but offered some advice for those who want to make sure they receive their packages.

“If you know a package is being delivered, follow your alerts that they’ve been delivered, or try to get home and pick them up or send someone to pick them up,” Atkin said. “Cameras are always good, the doorbell cameras and such. … Maybe have it shipped to your work where you know you’re going to be.”

In addition to these recommendations, the Security.org study also recommended using Amazon lockers. Amazon lockers are offered by Amazon as a more secure way to receive packages, requiring a passcode sent to your account to unlock a locker with your package in it. Amazon also offers hub counters, which provide a similar experience to the lockers. There is an Amazon hub counter at the GNC store in the Red Cliffs Mall in St. George.

With regards to the doorbell cameras, Atkin said they have definitely found them to be a successful way to track down suspects in St. George.

“We’ve used it quite a bit on our social media where if there is a theft of something and they have that doorbell camera, we post it on our social media saying, ‘Do you recognize these people?’” she said “The more information we have on a suspect for a crime is better. It’s not going to necessarily prevent it, but if it does happen then we can at least have the photo of them and their vehicle and a timeline of when it happened.”

Atkin also said being neighborly and watching out for packages being delivered is something residents can do for each other.

Beyond porch theft, vehicle larcenies were ranked No. 1 in Utah over shoplifting and thefts at buildings. In Cedar City, police recently started a campaign encouraging residents to make the “9 p.m. Routine” a nightly habit in an effort to prevent car theft. The routine reminds residents to lock up their homes and cars before heading to bed.

Cedar City Police Sgt. Clint Pollock previously told Cedar City News that there are, on average, about 10 vehicle burglary reports a month. A majority of those are unlocked cars. Atkin estimated that St. George sees roughly 20 to 25 vehicle burglaries per month.

“It’s going to happen on occasion where it’s a crime of opportunity,” Atkin said. “Those are always ongoing.”

Atkin said they have seen a rise in people, mostly from out of state, stealing from cars parked where there is not much foot traffic such as trailheads, parks or even churches. The suspects steal from those cars, then go to a local store and buy as many gift cards as they can.

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