There is no faster way to ruin the holidays for online shoppers than to have "porch pirates" steal their packages.
That's why police across the state are warning residents to be prepared for their deliveries and to make arrangements beforehand.
"It's a tough time of year to keep your packages safe," said East Fishkill Police Chief Kevin Keefe.
He suggests purchasing an oversized mailbox big enough to hold small packages or to work out an arrangement with neighbors.
"Most of us have neighbors who stay home and will help keep an eye out for packages or anything suspicious going on," he added.
Security cameras can help, but only after the crime when they can help police track down the thieves.
According to a study by InsuranceQuote.com conducted in 2015, more than 23 million Americans have been a victim of the practice.
But, the company added, there are steps savvy shoppers can take to keep packages safe.
The number one step is to have packages delivered to a location where they can be received in person, including a workplace, relative's hours or a neighbor's.
Officials with the Yonkers Police Department agree, but add that technology is your friend when online shopping. They suggest shoppers use tracking numbers and delivery notifications. Most major shipping companies offer this free service and can send a text or email when packages arrive.
They also recommend:
- Request packages to be placed in a less conspicuous spot, such as a side door or behind a planter or garbage can.
- Many shipping companies now allow you to request a delivery time or time frame – schedule packages for when someone is home.
- Install a smart security camera at your front door.
- Request signature on delivery if possible.
- Some companies and shippers offer locker service or for packages to be held at the delivery distribution center for pick-up.
- Keep an eye out for suspicious vehicles and people in your neighborhood and report suspicious activity.
If a package is stolen, notify your local police department.
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