×

Protect Yourself From 'Porch Pirates' During the Holidays

Mail carriers during the holiday season are like the adult version of Santa Claus:They bear gifts and bring those gifts right to your home, and the promise of presents under the tree fills you with joy. Yet every year, millions of Americans never get the chance to receive their packages from the beloved mail carriers because of porch pirates — people who steal packages.

In 2015, the Princeton Survey Research Associates found that 23 million Americans were victims of these porch pirates. Law enforcement all over the country is working to catch these package thieves, especially at a time of year when some households receive packages daily leading up to the holidays..

Police officers in Hiawatha, Iowa, are putting fake boxes on porches to try and catch porches. The boxes have special technology inside that alert the police when they are moved. In Salt Lake City, Utah, the Woods Cross Police Department is offering the community a free service in December where they can have their packages shipped to the department so they packages will stay safe. They call it the "Santa Squad."

“We have people who are victims of thefts around the holidays and it does, it ruins their Christmas,” Lt. Adam Osoro told FOX 13. “What a better way to help out Santa getting the packages out to people who deserve them during Christmas time.”

How to prevent your packages from getting stolen.

Osoro is right: Stolen packages can ruin a Christmas surprise. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure your packages arrive safely:

  1. Amazon offers Amazon Key, a program for Prime members. The program allows mail people to use a key or code to enter homes and deliver packages.

  2. UPS and FedEx both have apps that allows customers to reschedule and rerouted their packages. The apps are UPS My Choice and FedEx Delivery Manager.

  3. There are several ways to get a securely delivered package from the U.S. Postal Service. Some packages require a signature from the recipient, a service that both senders and receivers can request. Lock boxes, which are secure boxes the mail person will put the packages in, are also a good option.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service also has some tips on its website to protect your packages, including: Do not send cash in the mail; tell your local Post Office when you'll be out of town so they can hold your mail; and start a neighborhood watch program to keep an eye out for thieves.

h/t The Morning Call

More from FIRST

How to Recycle Old, Broken Christmas Lights

How to Make Sure Your Christmas Presents Don't Get Ruined on Your Flight

How to Tell If Your Christmas Tree Needs Water With a Ping Pong Ball