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We are just a couple of weeks away from Christmas and that means we will soon see a huge increase in the amount of packages being left at people's doors. Deliveries by USPS, FedEx, UPS, and Amazon will all see an uptick in deliveries as retailers and consumers wants those must have items delivered by December 24.

This also means we will probably see an increase in theft over the next couple of weeks from those who are stealing packages from the owner's doorsteps. Those stealing the packages are commonly known as Porch Pirates.

Porch Piracy has been on the increase in recent years as more and more people shop online for items and as the pandemic has caused more people to stay home and instead of going to a store, they just have the product shipped to them.

Porch Pirates strike in different ways. Some just drive up and down streets looking to packages left outside. Some follow Amazon, UPS, and FedEx trucks into different neighborhoods. Some work solo while others work in pairs or teams. Other than walking, the crime takes no special skills.

A recent study by Safewise concluded that 210 million packages were stolen across America in the last year.

If you are worried about Porch Pirates, here are some ideas I've rounded up from ADTTheFamilyHandyman, WoodTV.

1. Track Your Packages/Schedule Delivery

Amazon, FedEx, UPS and other companies will allow you to track packages and in some cases allow you to schedule a time or time of day for packages to be delivered. Sometimes you can also have those packages sent to family or friends, or even have a neighbor pick up your packages so they won't get stolen.

2. Use the Amazon Hub Locker facility in Lubbock

Sure, it may be located near Texas Tech and it could be on the opposite end of town from you, but so what? It will be safe and secure and you will get an email notifying you when your package has arrived. Once you get to the Amazon Hub Locker, you will get a QR code to scan. Walk in, scan your code, and walk out with your package. Easy.

3. Have FedEx, UPS, and USPS Deliver Somewhere Else In The City

Did you know FedEx can deliver your package to participating Walgreens locations? UPS and USPS can hold packages at their own facilities. It may not be the most convenient of options, but we are talking security here, not convenience. Also remember, that if your workplace allows it, you can have packages sent to where you work. Some will also deliver your package to a neighbor or relative.

4. Invest In a good Porch Lockbox

These are becoming a little more popular, but they can also cost you some money. Some lockboxes have a slot for drivers to put packages in while others require you to give a code to the driver. These boxes can cost hundreds of dollars, but people are investing in them if they get packages sent all the time. There are cheaper options, like lock bags that attach to your door handle. They cost less, but can be cut open. However, the bag might be enough of a deterrent against Porch Pirates.

5. Have Your Packages Placed Somewhere Else (not the front of your home)

Amazon, FedEx, and UPS drivers can all be instructed to leave packages in a location other than at your front door. Amazon Prime members can sign up for Amazon Key for free. This does mean that your garage will need to become a smart garage with the myQ app. At checkout on Amazon choose "Free Key Delivery" and the driver scans your package that links to your garage door. The driver then places the package inside your garage and the door shuts. FedEx and UPS both have tools where you can instruct drivers to places packages somewhere else.

6. Make It Obvious You Have Home Security. VERY Obvious.

Even Porch Pirates don't want to mess with security systems. Make it very clear that your home is protected by some type of security system. Place signs in the front yard advertising your security company and even put stickers on doors and windows.

7. Install Outdoor Cameras

Porch Pirates don't want to get caught and by installing cameras around your home, you may make them think twice before coming up to your door. Make sure you have either a doorbell camera or a front door camera that gets a good face shot but is hard to remove. Often, a criminal will see the camera and will just move on. And also, install multiple cameras with different points of view. Personally, I'm not sure you can have too many cameras around the outside of your home.

The ideas above aren't 100% but they can help you avoid being a victim and having things stolen. And if something is stolen, hopefully you got them on camera and they will be caught.

One final tip. Be a good neighbor. Get to know your neighbors and watch out for each other.

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