NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Whether you’re cranking the holiday music or still have your Halloween decorations up, the season for shopping has begun.

But when it comes to packages arriving at your doorstep, being on the lookout for so called “porch pirates” is becoming part of the holiday season.

“I usually try to start around this time or kind of early so I can not stress during actual holiday time when I just want to relax,” said Lydia Harrison.

Georgia Rose and Lydia Harrison are local college students starting the annual search in Northampton. But Georgia also plans to do some online shopping.

Last year, the U.S. Postal Service accepted 13.2 Billion Mail pieces and packages during the holiday season alone, more than 2020.

Peter James McNulty Jr. of Florence told 22News, “Porches everywhere. Businesses, porches. Some people have security cameras, other people don’t.”

Porch pirates are people who steal packages off your door step, and according to a 2019 report from C&R Research, one in three Americans have had at least one package stolen from them.

Here’s what to do if your package is stolen:

  • Alert your local police department
    • Security footage can be a helpful piece in the investigation
  • Reach out to the website you bought your present from
    • Retailers may have a refund policy in place
  • File a claim with the delivery company that shipped your package
    • Not all policies cover theft
  • Check your renter or homeowner insurance policy
    • Stolen packages might be covered

Still, Georgia and Lydia are seeing the benefits of shopping local.

Georgia shared, “I started today, I got my grandpa a pair of… train socks.”

Companies like Amazon also have lock boxes where you can pick up your gifts and that can prevent them from being stolen.