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Sat, Jan. 18

Beware of Porch Pirates: 6 tips to protect holiday deliveries

‘Tis the season to take advantage of online prices and have your Christmas gifts shipped right to your home.

‘Tis also the season for thieves to take advantage of you and your work schedule, scooping up packages left on your doorstep.

What can you do, short of buying a $250 Amazon Key system to allow Amazon delivery drivers (and no one else’s, by the way) access to leave the packages in your home?

If you are concerned about package theft, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn suggests you be pro-active and take the following ideas into consideration:

• Arrange to have the package shipped to your workplace, or a friend or relative’s home.

• Choose a shipping option that requires you to sign for delivery.

• Check the package’s delivery status online so you can try to be home when the package arrives. Some shippers even offer text messages to your cell phone to alert you when items have been delivered.

• On the expected day of arrival, post a note on your door asking the delivery service to leave the package with a trusted neighbor. (Note that some carriers may not allow this option.)

• Ask the delivery service to hold your package for your pick-up at their local shipping facility.

• If you do not receive your shipment on time, check with the company of origin and confirm the delivery. If the item was delivered and you did not receive it, report the theft or loss to the original company, the shipping company, and local law enforcement if you’re sure it was stolen.

“Many of these crimes occur during broad daylight,” D’Evelyn said. “Be alert about suspicious behavior in your neighborhood, especially if you see a delivery truck making the rounds and a vehicle following behind or unfamiliar subjects on foot following the truck route.”

Call your local police non-emergency number if you see this sort of activity, or call 911 if you see a theft in progress.

For most major shipping companies, technology provides several ways to track and protect packages set for delivery, including redirecting packages to secure locations, holding a delivery, or requesting a specific place on your property to leave a package. These options are available from a smart phone or computer. So if you are concerned, take advantage of them.

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