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Ask the Chief Deputy: Shoppers beware and be ready

December 4, 2018

The day after Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday shopping season, and we always encourage people to be mindful that it’s also a time when thieves start prowling for gifts.

Keeping vehicles locked and ensuring no purchases are left in open view will help you avoid becoming an easy target.

But finding gifts in vehicles isn’t the only place thieves look these days. With billions being spent online, merchandise is brought to your doorstep, and thieves know this.

Package thieves are opportunistic and will attempt to take your package from outside your home. We have responded to calls where delivery trucks were followed to drop-off locations.

Here are a few ways you can help keep your packages safe.

n Sign up through the delivery company for updates and alerts that are sent to your phone.

n Have the delivery occur at your place of work.

n Have a trusted neighbor get your package for you.

n Have the delivery require a signature.

n Ask your delivery company if they have hold locations so the package can be rerouted. You will need photo ID to get your package from the hold location.

n Arrange with the delivery company to place your package out of public view.

The Sheriff’s Office highly recommends cameras be installed near entryways where packages are generally delivered. There are wireless systems that alert your cellphone when motion is detected from the camera.

If you do utilize a camera, make sure it is angled toward your parking area so a vehicle and possibly a license plate can be viewed. We can investigate the crime faster if we have a vehicle description or a plate.

Please consider some of the above tips to avoid being a victim of theft this holiday season.

— Chad Clark is chief of Patrol Operations for the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office. Send questions to askpatrolchief@gmail.com.

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