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Advice

Santa Barbara Police Urge Public to Protect Holiday Deliveries from Theft

Police are urging the public to keep track of their packages and deliveries after a string of thefts occurred recently across Santa Barbara.

A handful of reports have come in since October, stating that UPS and FedEx packages have been stolen off of front doorsteps after they’ve been delivered, said Sgt. Riley Harwood of the Santa Barbara Police Department.

“This is something that tends to be seasonal,” Harwood said of the package thefts, adding that the department has seen similar trends in past years as more people have gifts delivered from online stores.

At least five of the thefts occurred in November, and one has been reported thus far this month, he said.

The majority of the thefts occurred in residential areas, from neighborhoods on the Mesa and on Foothill Road, as well as several in downtown Santa Barbara.

“It’s all over,” he said.

All of the items were recorded as crimes of petty theft, which means their value is $950 or less.

Harwood said the crimes were reported after people returned home, expecting packages, only to find them missing.

Tracking down the culprits can be difficult because “in many cases we don’t have any suspect information,” he said. “There’s always hope that a neighbor might have seen something.”

Sometimes cases like this will be resolved when suspects are pulled over for traffic stops for a different reason, and then investigation will link them to other activity, such as theft or burglary, Harwood said.

People are encouraged to use tracking features to determine when their packages will be delivered, and if they won’t be home at the time, they should ask a trusted neighbor to pick it up for them, Harwood said.

Items of large value should be directed to a local post office, where they can be picked up in person.

“It’s just something we often see every holiday season,” he said.

Residents are also encouraged to lock their vehicles and not to leave valuables inside, as police have been seeing more reports of theft from vehicles.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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