HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - With people already Christmas shopping, the Hartsville Police Department is warning online shoppers of "porch piracy," which is where thieves steal packages off of porches.
Hartsville Police Lt. Mark Blair said while Hartsville doesn't have a problem with porch piracy right now, people should know it can happen to anyone.
"People probably think it would never happen to them," Blair said. "I've seen online where it's happened to other communities and we just want to give our citizens a little bit of an advanced warning with this coming into the shopping season."
Blair suggests requiring a signature or requesting the package be delivered to a neighbor, nearby relative or even a person's job if possible. He also advises that buyers should consider insurance for packages in the event they are stolen.
Hartsville residents Virginia Neddham and Don Childers don't think porch pirates are a major concern in their community. However, they still take small precautions.
"I have my sister check my house just in case somebody leaves the package and I'm not there," Neddham said. "I have her check because I am concerned that somebody might go by and take my package. I certainly don't want that to happen."
Childers has his carrier drop packages off in less noticeable places.
"He normally drops them off under our carport next to our double doors," Childers said. "While first of all, I don't want them out in the open and if they put them at the front door, it'll be where everybody can see them from the road."
Blair said taking these small steps will help ensure people's presents get underneath the tree..
"It's just a preventive measure to let people know that, while they're shopping online and waiting on their packages to get delivered, people are waiting to take that stuff from them," he said.