AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – The Amherst police are increasing patrols after an uptick of stolen packages have been reported.

According to the Amherst Police Department, reports of packages being stolen at locations around town include apartment complexes. Officers will be monitoring the most common areas affected and may be seen knocking on doors over the next few days to talk with residents to help reduce thefts.

Police are encouraging residents to be aware of package deliveries and secure them immediately. If that is not an option, have a secure location to have your packages delivered to.

If you have been a victim of theft, contact the Amherst Police Department at 413-259-3000.

Tips to protect packages from porch pirates

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.

  • Track packages. Ask for a tracking number to know when your package is delivered. Track your packages and try to be home at the time of delivery. When placing an order, if possible, try to schedule shipment for a day you expect to be home.
  • Require a signature. Requesting a signature for delivery. This should ensure the package won’t be left at your door without you there to sign and bring it safely inside.
  • Deliver to alternate home or workplace. Have your packages delivered somewhere else. If you know you won’t be home when your package will be delivered, FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS) tell you to opt for delivering it to a neighbor who is home or to your workplace.
  • Consider a package receiving service. Another option is to deliver your packages to a retail store or locker, where they’ll stay safe until you can pick them up at your convenience. Many retailers will let you place online orders and then pick up your items in the store. You can also look into the Amazon Locker service, which delivers Amazon orders to a “locker” in your area; you’re provided a pickup code that will unlock the door for you.
  • Ship to store. UPS suggests signing up for a service called “UPS My Choice,” which allows users to request their packages to be held at a UPS store for pick-up and more. You can control the service through text or email; it includes features such as delivery notices and the option to re-route your packages to a different address if you won’t be home. You can also re-route your packages using the FedEx Delivery Manager.
  • Use a security camera. Security cameras pointing at your front door, hallway, or driveway are better than no camera at all. A security camera will serve as a great deterrent for criminals, and it helps to prevent package theft.

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.

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