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'Tis The Season For "Porch Piracy"

Photo of boxes.
Lee Hale / KUER

Salt Lake City is ranked No. 2 among U.S. metro areas most susceptible to package theft, according to a survey by Utah-based review site SafeWise released ahead of Black Friday shopping.

Like many Salt Lake residents, Ben Wagner has experienced this first hand. Last year around this time he ordered a book from Amazon, had it sent to his apartment, got the online notification that it arrived, and came home to find … nothing waiting for him. No book.

“I think it was a copy of the Oxford Edition of Julius Caesar,” Wagner said. “Who wants to steal that?”

Wagner isn’t alone. Google searches for package theft have been climbing nationwide. The website SafeWise compared those trends with FBI larceny rates to show that the Salt Lake City metro ranked second most likely for what’s being called “Porch Piracy.”

It wasn’t the only time Wagner had a package swiped from outside his apartment. Wagner suspected it was a neighbor because his unit was on the third floor of his building. He even bought a doorbell camera that takes pictures of any movement. But he never caught the culprit.

Wagner has since moved, and he hasn’t had any packages stolen from his new place. But when he is expecting something of value he can’t help but worry and he ends up checking the delivery status throughout his workday.

As far as preventing “porch piracy,” online shoppers can use pick-up locations like Amazon lockers, but those can be inconvenient and installing security can be expensive. Which is why someone like Wagner opts for a quick dash home during his lunch break instead.

Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear.
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