The gift-giving holiday season also means the return of the gift-buying season, which increasingly means items ordered online being delivered just in time for Christmas.
While Kilgore has not seen an uptick in packages being stolen off of people’s porches, Kilgore Assistant Police Chief Roman Roberson said, other areas have had problems with the so-called “porch pirates.”
“We’re just trying to take a little proactive stance, seeing that Christmas is coming,” he said. “More and more people are shopping online these days, so they get package deliveries. We just want to encourage people to be cautious of that. Thieves know those package deliveries are coming because they see the UPS guy or Fed-Ex guy going through the neighborhoods and dropping these packages off on porches. We just want to encourage people to be mindful of that, and if they can, make sure somebody’s home to take the delivery.”
If no one can be home during the day to accept packages, Roberson said, alternatives include having items delivered to their place of work or to a relative’s house.
Another option this year is Main Street Flowers and More. The downtown business is bringing back its service to accept and hold packages for people who cannot be home when the items are delivered. (See inset)
KPD will also be out in marked and unmarked cars patrolling the neighborhoods to try to protect people’s property and deliveries.
Although there appears to be more videos of these “porch pirates” in action across the country stealing packages and decorations, Roberson said, he does not think there are more occurrences than usual. Rather, he attributes the increase in videos to more people installing surveillance cameras at their homes.
Theft is a crime of convenience, he said, with many thieves searching for the easiest target, whether it is packages sitting in the open on a porch or an unlocked vehicle.
“If they’re walking down the street and they see something expensive in plain view on the front porch, well it’s just an easy target,” he continued. “That’s what they look for.
"That’s when you’ve got to harden your target up, not to make it so easy on the thieves.”
Another way to keep neighborhoods safe is for residents to report any suspicious activity in neighborhoods or anything that seems out of the ordinary, especially during the day time when many people are at work or school or running errands
“The main thing is that people that are in the residential neighborhoods who do see something out of place or see somebody that looks suspicious, don’t be afraid or don’t hesitate to give us a call and let us come check it out,” Roberson said. “We’d much rather come check it out and it not be anything than we find out later something was stolen or taken. We encourage everybody to give us a call if they see any suspicious activity.”
To report any suspicious activity or crimes, contact the Kilgore Police Department at 903-984-1559.