According to insurance and law enforcement experts, the theft of packages left on people's porches and steps from holiday deliveries is growing fast. Here's how to help prevent it!

Pemco Insurance this week did a story about package theft, and referred to these criminals as "Porch Pirates." That's the new buzzword for thieves who follow FedEx, UPS and other delivery trucks through neighborhoods. They carefully watch deliveries, check to see if someone is home, and if not, they swoop in. We've even had some cases this year in the Columbia Basin where small theft rings were broken up, they'd been stealing packages even before the holidays.

Crime statistics for package theft have grown with the growth of online shopping.  According to Pemco Insurance, there are ways to greatly reduce the chance of your holiday (and other times of the year) treasures from being stolen.

Officials say it's relatively easy for these criminals to steal. They just run up, grab the package and go.

Here's how to prevent Porch Pirates:

  • When ordering items online, if possible, use your business or office address for delivery. Not all bosses will allow that, but if they will, it virtually guarantees you or someone you trust will take delivery of the package.
  • When choosing shipping options, if possible, choose a signed delivery option. This requires the carrier to get your signature in person. If you're not home, they take the package with them and leave you a notice. You can always pick up at UPS or FedEX later.
  • Utilize a trusted neighbor or friend, if they're home during the day. They can keep the package at their home until you arrive home from work.
  • Utilize the on-line apps or tracking options when you order. Amazon and many other retailers automatically send you emails confirming the order, and letting you know the delivery date and even time of the package.
  • If possible, utilize the "track your package" options that retailers often give you. You'll usually find it in the confirmation email they send after your purchase.

While there's no sure fire way to prevent all Porch Pirates, you can virtually eliminate theft by following these important steps.  And, urge friends and relatives to do so as well when YOU send THEM packages throughout the year.

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