Waiting for Cyber Monday deliveries? MBPD warn of porch pirates eyeing holiday packages

Updated: Dec. 3, 2019 at 11:00 AM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Two-day or even one-day delivery is in high demand right now, especially after Cyber Monday.

Many online shoppers are expecting packages to arrive at their doorsteps soon, but Myrtle Beach police said “porch pirates” are also waiting on those packages too.

“This time brings out both the best and worst in people. Obviously this is a great time of year for giving, but those who wish to commit crimes will capitalize on that,” said Myrtle Beach Police Cpl. Tom Vest.

A recent report found 36 percent of Americans have dealt with package theft within the last year. Myrtle Beach police said any unattended package provides an open invitation for anyone to help themselves. However, there are some things people can do to keep their holiday packages safe.

First, track deliveries online and try to be home at the time of delivery. Also, make sure to request a signature release.

For those who won’t be home during work hours, there’s a few good options. Either have the package delivered to the workplace instead, or ask a trusted neighbor to pick it up.

“A lot of us work all the time and we understand that. So having packages delivered at a time when you’re home may not be possible. (The) shortest amount of time you have the packages out and visible would be the best. So if you have a friend or someone who is home during the day that’s able to take those packages in and hold them for you, that’s a great way to prevent it,” Vest said.

Another option is to schedule to pick up a package in person from the post office, UPS or FedEx stores.

Police said technology can also help keep thieves away. Installing surveillance cameras or smart video doorbells can serve as a deterrent and help authorities crack cases. There are also several apps, like NextDoor, that are designed for homeowners to alert neighbors about porch pirates.

Earlier this year, the Myrtle Beach and Horry County police departments partnered with a digital neighborhood watch system called the Neighbors app by Ring. Through the app, people can share suspicious activity in their community with both neighbors and law enforcement.

Vest said so far, it’s been a success. He recommends homeowners use the app not just during the holidays, but year-round.

“We’ve enjoyed that relationship we’ve been able to establish. It’s such an incredible way for people to share important information and us to get important information out as well. We’ve seen it several times throughout the year being effective as an investigative tool and also as a communication tool within our community,” he said.

The Neighbors app by Ring is free to download and the Ring camera device or any type of surveillance system isn't needed in order to join.

Myrtle Beach officers said if residents have packages stolen off their porch, the best thing to do is report it to local authorities and file a claim with the shipping company.

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