Santa Rosa police warn of package thefts during holiday spike
Amid an increase in doorstep package thefts in Sonoma County during the holiday season, police are sharing tips to help you avoid getting Grinched.
“Watch out for package thieves,” said the Santa Rosa Police Department in its video reenactment of an attempted pilferage — a theatrical effort to raise awareness of the nagging crime trend, authorities said.
The agency has received more calls about parcels disappearing from people’s front doors in the first weeks of December as people receive their holiday gifts in the mail, according to spokesman Sgt. Chris Mahurin.
“Last week and this week, we see the highest volume because everyone’s getting Christmas presents delivered,” Mahurin said Tuesday.
Reports of miscellaneous larceny, which includes package thefts, rose 4% between October and November of this year, according to data from the Santa Rosa Police Department.
Petaluma also witnessed a rise in package theft reports, the department said in a Nixle alert Dec. 10.
Between Oct. 1 and Dec. 21, Petaluma police responded to 12 cases of package theft, Community Engagement Liaison Jennifer Parsons-Pritchard elaborated in an email Tuesday.
“This statistic, which averages to be once a week, appears to be happening equally throughout East and West side of Petaluma. The incidents can occur at all hours of the day and does not seem to have any particular pattern,” Parsons-Pritchard said.
Preventive tips offered by both agencies included signing up for delivery notifications and installing home security systems like alarms, cameras or parcel boxes.
Police generally see an uptick in this kind of criminal activity at the beginning of winter each year, Mahurin said.
A recent study by home security website Safewise found that 210 million packages vanished from front stoops and porches in the past 12 months, with 64.1% of Americans victimized by package theft.
“Package theft is a crime of opportunity,” explained crime expert Ben Stickle, who authored the report. With Christmas shopping in full swing and people busier with family and friends, porch piracy becomes an “easy targets for thieves.”
San Francisco is the second-worst metro area for package theft, according to Safewise.
Data provided by Santa Rosa, for example, shows a 14% decrease in reported crime between this year and last, though some forms of violent crime were up. And statistics collected by the FBI show that property crime specifically dropped in 2020 and continued to decrease through 2021, with few exceptions.
Experts theorize that many factors contributed to these changes during the last two years, including the pandemic disrupting normal routines.
You can reach Staff Writer Emily Wilder at 707-521-5337 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @vv1lder.