It’s the busiest time of the year for the U.S. Postal Service and other package delivery services. The pandemic, and an even more massive shift to online shopping, are likely to mean the boxes and envelopes pile up rapidly.
Packages left on doorsteps make for easy theft, but minimizing exposure to so-called “porch pirates” is not as hard as it might seem. The Keizer Police Department’s Community Response Unit will be arranging package theft stings throughout the holiday season and expect to ramp up the effort as the Christmas holiday approaches.
Suggestions for securing packages quickly and safely include:
• Consider having packages delivered to a place of employment.
• If delivery to your place of employment isn’t feasible, schedule deliveries for times you will be home.
• Team up with a trusted neighbor and work together to retrieve and secure packages 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 a porch unattended and vulnerable to theft for long periods of time.
• Require a signature when packages are delivered. This ensures packages will not be delivered unless someone is at home 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 door cameras, security cameras and video doorbells with motion sensors can all be used to monitor your porch for package delivery.
• 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. In 2018, seven people in Michigan 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 [email protected].