It’s the busiest time of the year for the U.S. Postal Service, and package delivery services throughout the country. The Keizer Police Department is urging residents to plan carefully when placing orders that will be delivered to their door.

It’s not uncommon for packages and envelopes to pile up on doorsteps making for easy theft, but minimizing exposure to so-called “porch pirates” is not as hard as it might seem.

KPD suggests:

• Having packages
delivered to where you are, not where you aren’t. Consider having packages delivered to your place of employment.

• If you can’t have packages delivered to your place of employment, schedule deliveries for times you will be home.

• Teaming up with a trusted neighbor who can retrieve and secure packages from your porch soon after they are delivered.

• Sign up to receive text messages or email notifications/alerts advising when packages are delivered to your residence. After receiving the notification, work with other family members, friends or neighbors to identify an individual who can retrieve and secure the packages quickly. This keeps packages from sitting on your porch unattended and vulnerable for theft for long periods of time.

• Require a signature when packages are delivered.  This ensures packages will not be delivered unless someone is at your residence who can sign for them.

• Consider investing in technology or security devices. A variety of lockboxes, or parcel boxes have become available in recent years that allows the delivery service to secure packages in the box until you arrive home to retrieve them. Door cameras, security cameras, and video doorbells with motion sensors can all be used to monitor your porch for package delivery.  Such video surveillance systems, especially those that are visible to would-be thieves can deter crime, but in the off chance the thief is brazen enough to steal the packages knowing he/she is being recorded, these surveillance systems can result in useful video and still photographs that law enforcement authorities can use to identify the thief.

• Finally, keep an eye out for suspicious vehicles and individuals in your neighborhood. Don’t hesitate to call the police to respond to investigate when suspicious vehicles or individuals are observed.

The U.S. Postal service is also offering an Informed Delivery Service. The service lets you see what’s expected to arrive in your mailbox soon, whether it’s important mail or packages. You can sign up at informeddelivery.usps.com.

Even if you would rather be surprised when you open the mailbox each day, it’s a good idea to register your address and its residents. Seven people in Michigan recently used the service while registering for credit cards and then stole the cards out of the recipients mailboxes. They were caught after running up more than $400,000 in fraudulent charges. You can also opt out of the service by emailing eSafe@usps.gov.