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How to keep packages safe from porch pirates

Porch pirates are on the prowl in search of holiday deliveries

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — It's that time of year - holiday deliveries are rolling in. Sadly, that means porch pirates are on the prowl. According to a Consumer Affairs report, nearly 26 million packages from the United States Postal Service, FedEx and UPS were reported stolen last year alone in 2018. That is an increase of 2.5 million since 2015.

The good news is there are steps than can help keep thieves from stealing Christmas. One has been growing in popularity recently. Security and doorbell cameras, like The Ring, are all the rage right now. Some studies suggest they can reduce the risk of theft by as much as 300%.

However, viral videos have proven, time and again, brazen criminals are not afraid to risk being caught stealing on camera. Shoppers expecting deliveries may also want to consider sending packages to a secure location - like a workplace. 

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Police departments, in some cities, allow residents to have packages sent to local stations to be picked up. Sgt. John Wittkowski, says Grand Rapids Police Department doesn't offer such a service. People are advised to call their local departments before using it as a delivery location.

Amazon does, guarantee, offer secure delivery with its easy to use online tool. The tool allows customers to locate a pickup location near them and have packages sent there. Scheduling packages to arrive when someone is home is another option. In those situations it's best to require a signature on delivery to prevent them from being dropped outside the door.

Many companies, like Amazon, offer shipping confirmation via text. That allows customers to know exactly when their packages arrive and have a friend or neighbor keep them safe until they get home.

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