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Billings police set up package pickup to prevent theft

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Posted at 9:05 AM, Dec 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-05 11:05:02-05

Package theft happens all year long in neighborhoods all around the country.

To help fight that, the Billings Police Crime Prevention Center will start receiving those packages to keep them away from thieves.

Packages can be sent to the crime prevention center's address and picked up starting Monday.

The program is designed to prevent porch pirates from stealing Christmas presents and other deliveries.

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KTVQ photo

"Every year, starting about Thanksgiving into December, we start seeing those package thefts off of doorsteps and stoops," said Kallie Parsons, volunteer coordinator at the center. "A lot of people will post it on Facebook and show videos, videos of their packages being stolen but we don't get as many reports as they report on Facebook."

Parsons said some thefts get reported on social media or not at all.

Nationwide, thieves stole 210 million packages last year, according to Safewise.com.

A C + R Research survey shows 43% have had at least one packet stolen at 64% have had more than one stolen.

"We do see it all year round so this isn't just a wintertime thing," she said. "However, with all the Christmas packages coming, we see a very large increase in the package thefts."

And the program is as simple as using the Crime Prevention Center address:
2906 3rd Avenue North
Billings, Montana 59101

"On their end, we just need them to address the package to us when they get it sent," Parsons said. "We accept packages that people ship to us so that they don't sit on their porch and then we will take them, organize them and then hand them off to the owners when they come to pick them up."

Parsons said the announcement of the program has brought a good response.

Here's a few comments from the center's announcement on Facebook:

"What an amazing and generous program."
" Thank you for providing this option."
"What a wonderful service."
"Awesome work."
"What a fantastic idea."

"It feels good to do this just because we're going to take care of them," Parsons said. "We're going to make sure you get your packages and they don't get stolen."

The Crime Prevention Center will be open to pick up packages through Dec. 29. The hours are Monday to Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Parking in downtown Billings is free at this time of year.