Sheriff

The holiday shopping season is in full swing and with Cyber Monday around the corner, many packages will be delivered to porches and at doorsteps.

Franklin County Sheriff Steve Pelton urges residents to take measures so their parcels are not stolen by thieves, sometimes called “porch pirates.”

According to Pelton, packages often are delivered — and stolen — during the day while people are working.

That’s why he is suggesting recipients have the packages delivered to their workplace, or to a neighbor or friend who is home during the day.

“After making online purchases, know where your packages will be put,” he said.

“We are hoping for a great holiday season for everybody and we don’t want anyone to fall victim to thefts.”

Pelton noted that many delivery services will allow for recipients to leave special instructions, including that packages be delivered in the rear of the house, or out of sight from the road.

Companies, including UPS and FedEx, also will allow for packages to be dropped off only with a signature by the recipient or a designee.

Some packages also can be held at the delivery company facilities to be picked up later. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has a fee-based “package intercept” program that lets people redirect a package that hasn’t been delivered or released for delivery. It can be held at the post office or sent to a different address.

The USPS, UPS and Fed-

Ex all will notify someone when a package is delivered. For example, people can set up a tracking notification through the USPS that will notify them through text or email, or both, when a package has been dropped off.

Once it is delivered the package can be taken inside by the recipient or a friend or neighbor.

People also may attempt to schedule a delivery for a time they will be home. That is not always available, but when making orders people may be able to request that through the online vendor or the delivery service.

People also can purchase a lockbox for their porch with an electronic keypad where a delivery driver enters an access code to open the lid. Once the parcel is placed inside, the latch closes and locks.

Pelton also suggested that those who do have cameras, make sure they are on and pointed to the porch where packages would be dropped off. While that won’t always prevent thefts, it could lead to the recovery of stolen packages if the recipient captures an image of the thief, or a license plate number of the vehicle they were in.

He also warns people to lock car doors when packages are in the vehicle.

“Lock your doors to safeguard your property and be vigilant,” Pelton added.

He also urges anyone who is shopping at night who does not feel comfortable walking to their vehicle to ask for an escort by a store employee.