With the shopping season under way already, thieves will be watching for the perfect opportunity upon your doorstep. They are bold and brazen today; they prey upon your doorstep while lurking around your neighborhood… they are “Porch Pirates.”

This holiday season, it’s estimated about 46% of shoppers will be online, ordering items and gifts that will require delivery to your doorstep. The hard part is keeping those packages safe, as this leaves a window of opportunity for the thief, while watching the neighborhood for deliveries. They are bold, and they will walk right up to your front door, lifting whatever you had delivered. As this crime escalates across the country, the Nation Retail Federation announced the increase of porch piracy is almost inevitable, as last years’ numbers were high as far as missing packages. In fact, thieves will wait for a FedEx or UPS Truck to enter the neighborhood, following them to their destinations. As they watch the deliveries take place, they wait only a few minutes before they snatch your package and drive away with it. Don’t think it’s too early for these thieves to be out there, in fact last month in California one thief already got caught on a customers’ surveillance camera; as he approached this house in a U-Haul truck, this thief pulled up the driveway, jumped out and stole the packages almost immediately after the delivery drop. Luckily the tape showed the license of the truck and this thief was hauled in, but not everyone is as lucky. Recently in Kansas City, Mo. these thieves were two young girls that approached a porch early one morning (caught on video surveillance), while the residents were sleeping, and stole an Alaskan malamute puppy right out of its kennel. It’s a sad crime that’s being committed everywhere, and these types of criminals have no specific look, that’s obvious.

Porch Pirating will be going on everywhere this year, and it’s up to you to keep your packages safe; avoiding this type of situation when possible, you should consider having any packages delivered to your employer (if they will allow this), or having someone at your home, so they may take delivery if you’re unavailable. I also urge people to have your things delivered to a nearby location for pick up. There’s nothing worse than spending money on something and not receiving it. Protect yourself this year, and take every precaution possible, as these thieves are not giving up anytime soon. Take a mental picture of your neighborhood before leaving your home, and if you notice anyone unusual sitting in a vehicle that appears a bit sketchy (even if there’s a logo on that vehicle), don’t hesitate to let authorities know. You could be saving someone from a home invasion of sorts, or deterring the next porch pirate from working your neighborhood. Stay safe and be Aware, happy shopping to all.

Make your week count.