Cyber Monday 2018: How to Outsmart Porch Pirates, Tips to Make Sure Your Deliveries Don't Get Stolen

The holidays are a time for giving. But it seems porch pirates—who pinch parcels from doorsteps—didn't get the memo. And police officers across the country are warning the public to be especially vigilant in the run-up to Christmas.

“It's hitting every neighborhood you can imagine,” Sergeant Trevor McDonald, of Wichita Police Department's property crime section, told The Wichita Eagle.

Such thieves are opportunists, he warned. In the run-up to Christmas, and as online shoppers indulge in Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, the number of packages being sent across the U.S. will spike. According to e-commerce website Internet Retailer, shoppers in the U.S. are expected to spend $119.99 billion online in November and December.

McDonald said that more packages are stolen around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Porch pirates strike by looking out for delivery trucks as they roll into neighborhoods. Thieves follow these vehicles as drivers carry out their work, and swipe unattended parcels.

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A stock image of a parcel. Police are warning the public to beware of porch pirates during the holiday season. Getty Images

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To stop porch pirates, firstly try your best to schedule mail to arrive at your property when you know you will be at home. Failing that, ask a trusted neighbor to collect your parcels, said McDonald.

If you're not often at home, organize packages to be sent to your work address. Alternatively, use an Amazon Locker or similar secure drop box services.

McDonald added that another way to keep your mail safe is to ask delivery firms to store items at their facilities, and pick it up from there. Comapanies like UPS can provide this service, said McDonald.

The United States Postal Service offers porch-pirate-busting services, too. If you know you'll be on holiday, set up a Hold Mail request up to 30 days in advance of your trip so your mail is held at your local Post Office.

The Hold for Pickup option, meanwhile, enables you to redirect letters, packages, and flats to the Post office. Use Informed Delivery to set up a signature service to ensure your packages aren't pinched.

Last month, Overland Police Department created a film advising the public on how to protect themselves against porch piracy. The department urged the public to report any suspicious behavior to the police, and keep an eye out for your neighbors' belongings in the hope they'll return the favor.

Police chief Daniel Stump of Springettsbury Township, Pennsylvania, told Fox 43: "This time of year, we're all ordering online; it's how a lot of people are buying. We just need to be smarter and realize, it makes it more convenient for us, it also gives those with bad intentions more opportunity as well."