With online holiday shopping comes increase in package thefts Police offer tips on how to keep your gifts safe

·2 min read

Nov. 25—It's that time of year when people are ordering gifts online for the holidays.

A new study finds porch piracy will surge this holiday season, so police are giving online shoppers some advice on ways they can protect themselves against Grinches looking to snatch up those packages once they're delivered.

Last year, a record 20 billion parcels were shipped in the U.S. and a survey found 43 percent of Americans had a package stolen, according to a 2020 survey of 2,000 consumers by C+R, a Chicago-based research firm.

CCTV Camera World today released a study on the rise of package theft in America using FBI crime data through 2020. The rankings were determined by analyzing larceny-theft in each state, the crime category that includes package theft.

—Washington, D.C. ranks No. 1 with 3,775 crimes reported per 100,000 residents while Massachusetts and Idaho residents reported 912 per 100,000.

—Ohio residents should be on alert even though the state is the No. 24 least likely to have a package stolen.

—Larceny-theft was the most reported crime in 2020 with 2.4 million reports, more than all other crime categories.

—14 states have passed or are considering laws enhancing penalties for porch piracy with many lobbying for the creation of a new crime category specifically covering these incidents.

Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell offers the following tips to prevent package theft this holiday season:

1. Enable tracking and text alerts: Most carriers, including Amazon, UPS, and FedEx, will text you when your package has been delivered.

"Track package and then, if possible, retrieve it or ask friends or trusted neighbor to retrieve it," he said.

2. Install home security cameras: Security cameras serve as a deterrent and have successfully identified porch pirates in the act.

3. Invest in a porch lockbox: Companies now manufacture lockboxes designed specifically to receive packages. The lockbox will have a code that you provide to the delivery service so they can open it and drop your package off securely.

4. Control Shipping Location: If you know you will not be home to accept the package, you can have it shipped to work or pick it up at the store.

"An alternative is to leave a note for the delivery person to place package on back porch or where it's not so easily seen," Stell said.