CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP)– With the increase of on-line shopping and home delivery, the increase in theft of those packages is also on the rise.

According to a report, around 14% of consumers had a package stolen in 2022. Package thieves, also known as “porch pirates,” troll neighborhoods looking for unattended packages, and sometimes follow delivery trucks and snatching packages before homeowners even know they’ve been delivered.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers some ways to prevent and discourage this type of theft:

  • Check with neighbors. Sometimes, your package may not be stolen, just simply at the wrong address. Before filing a report or contacting the sender, check with your neighbors and see if the delivery service may have dropped off your package at the wrong address. Many delivery companies will take pictures of your package in the designated location – be sure to check for the photo and verify it is at the right spot.
  • Don’t leave unattended packages. When possible, do not leave delivered packages unattended for long periods. If you are expecting a package, attempt to schedule its delivery when you know you will be home. Ask your neighbors if they would mind holding on to packages delivered if you plan to be gone for an extended time during the holidays.
  • Ship to store. If purchasing an item from a retailer that has a physical location near your home, consider shipping it there instead. Retailers will require proof of purchase or identification before releasing packages they have received, and this is a sure way to avoid porch pirates.
  • Use a security camera. Installing a home security system with cameras or simply a camera-enabled doorbell is a great way to deter package theft, especially when highly visible. Consider including a sign that specifically states that the residence is under surveillance. Even if a package is stolen from your porch, the video evidence will help law enforcement track down the thieves (but be wary of the risk of internet-connected devices and research before you purchase).
  • Require a signature. Many delivery companies include the option to require a signature before leaving a package, letting you take physical possession of the item as soon as it is delivered. While this option works well for those who are often at home, especially for expensive items, it may create difficulties in receiving packages if your schedule and the delivery service are different. Be sure to check with the delivery company on their policy for packages that are not signed for; they may return it to the sender after a certain number of attempts.
  • Consider a package receiving service. Some major retailers, such as Amazon, offer secure package receiving locations away from your home that you can access with a key or code. Some independent businesses also specialize in this service, allowing you to designate a different delivery location for your packages and the ability to pick them up on your way home.

If you believe your package has been stolen, file a report with your local police department and the delivery company. Depending on which delivery service you use, they may offer insurance or other policies to reimburse you for your losses.

Go to the BBB’s website for more information on holiday shopping and consumer protections.