Beware of ‘porch pirates’ this holiday season

Pick up packages quickly and sign for them when you can, police suggest

Shoppers, beware: The package you ordered off Amazon or another online retailer could be stolen by package thieves this December.

About 23% of people surveyed had been the victim of a package theft in 2021, according to a survey done by C+R Research, a market researcher based in Chicago. According to the same survey, about 60% of people surveyed knew someone who had a package stolen during the holidays.

“This time of year, you’re going to see an increase just because of the amount of packages being delivered,” said Tyler Johnson, public information officer for Kettering Police.

No packages have been reported stolen so far in December in Kettering, he said. Last December, four packages were reported stolen.

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Huber Heights Police Sgt. Brian Carr said few packages have been reported stolen so far this year in Huber Heights, but more are likely to be stolen as the month goes on.

Carr suggested people who are worried about their packages being stolen try to pick up the package right after it’s delivered. You can also ask for a signature for the package to be delivered, request that all packages be delivered to an apartment or condo office or with an Amazon package, have it delivered to a local pickup locker.

If you’re on vacation, the U.S. Post Office, UPS and FedEx will hold packages until you return, Carr noted.

Johnson said he signs for every package he orders. He said other deterrents, like signs for the neighborhood watch or a doorbell camera, may also help.

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Packages also can be delivered to the wrong house, Carr said. Those need to be returned to either the person who ordered the package or the carrier, because the person who keeps the package could be charged with theft.

Naddia Dhalai, a spokeswoman for the postal service, said anyone who receives mail not addressed to them or delivered to the wrong address can drop it off at their local post office, or give it to their carrier and let them know what happened.

Police can recover lost packages in several ways, Carr said. He noted Amazon often sends their customers a photo of where the package was left, which can help detectives. UPS and FedEx also have a record of where the package was dropped, he said, which can help them backtrack to where the package was left.

To report package thefts, call your local police department’s nonemergency number.

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