Tips to avoid ‘porch pirates’ this holiday season

Beware of 'Porch Pirates'

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Over 35 million Americans say they’ve had a package stolen within the last year, according to finder.com. As the holiday season approaches, that number is expected to rise.

Delivery companies like UPS and FedEx are hiring thousands of people. It’s all to keep up with the growing number of online orders made to avoid the crowds during the holiday season. But with the good, comes the bad.

With more deliveries, there’s more opportunities for packages to be grabbed by so-called ‘porch pirates.’

But there are steps you can take to avoid having a package stolen. For one, you can track it or even have the order require a signature.

A perk of working from home this year is you can help a neighbor who isn’t at home. If you know a package is arriving and you won’t be home, call up a neighbor to pick it up or even have it delivered to your work.

Conway police Chief Dale Long said it’s important to pick up the package as soon as possible.

He said they’re also stressing the use of crime watch groups for neighbors to be more aware as many deliveries are expected this year.

Long said technology can also help.

“The other good thing that’s happening is there are so many people installing their own camera systems. They are getting alerts maybe while they are at work, the doorbell camera or another surveillance type system goes off and they can see when it happens and know somebody is at their house when they shouldn’t be,” he said. “The advent of technology there is helping some so people can see it, know it’s happening quicker and maybe we can dispatch quicker, quick enough to catch them leaving the area.”

Whether the package is big or small, porch pirates can cash in on your dime.

Long predicts thefts from porch pirates will pick up this time of year with the increase in deliveries. He said as these delivery trucks make their way around your neighborhood, thieves are making it a job to follow the trucks and get your order before you do.

“Economic opportunities have changed for people. You are going to have some people who are out of work, they don’t have income like they did, more desperate, also when we have times when the economy is not doing well,” Long said. “Unfortunately, we have people start leaning more heavily on substance abuse and addictions and they’re looking to do things to feed those addictions.”

Long added if you think your delivery was stolen, you have a couple of options. Report it immediately to the police and contact the shipping company to let them know as well.

Conway police will have patrols around shops and malls. Long said not only are they watching for porch pirates, but people stealing from cars too.

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