How to outsmart “porch pirates” this holiday season

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Crooks caught on camera, stealing packages from empty homes… they’re called porch pirates, and they’ve already been seen in western Massachusetts neighborhoods.

Chicopee Police Officer Mike Wilk told 22News it has already started happening in Chicopee. “We do get escalated complaints around this time of year from people having packages taken off their porches.”

Wilk sent 22News surveillance video from Grattan Street that captured a suspect in the act. “Somebody went on someone’s porch, opened the box to take it, started to walk away, and realized there was a video camera on the porch, and then put it down and left.”

Police are now urging you to take precautions.

Many delivery services let you customize where you want your package to be left. If you don’t want it to be visible from the street for example, you can have it dropped off at a side or back door.

Mike Manitsas of East Longmeadow told 22News, he has his packages delivered to an alternate address. “I have it shipped right to where I work and pick it up there, so no problem with the front porch.”

Customers who use UPS My Choice can take advantage of the Follow My Delivery feature, which allows them to track the location of their package online.

If you’re delivery is shipped through the U.S. Postal Service, you can use their Package Intercept feature. If you’re not home when the package is arriving, you’ll be able to redirect your shipment, and have the Post Office hold your package, as long as it has a tracking barcode.

UPS and Amazon also have lockers at retail stores where packages can be delivered.

According to Business Wire, 11-million people had packages stolen from their doorsteps last year.

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