Experts offer package theft prevention tips for the holidays - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Experts offer package theft prevention tips for the holidays

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A USPS official said holiday doorstop thefts vary in certain areas, but the threat is real. A USPS official said holiday doorstop thefts vary in certain areas, but the threat is real.
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CULLMAN, AL (WAFF) -

The countdown to Christmas is on, and that means a lot of presents are being shipped across the nation. Some of them may be left at your front door - making you a target for theft. But there are ways to make sure your packages don't end up in the wrong hands.

The United States Postal Service anticipates delivering an estimated 17.9 billion letters, cards and packages between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. More people are ordering online as Christmas comes, but here is the downside: Grinch-like crooks are taking the deliveries from doorsteps when families are not home.

Some thieves follow UPS and FedEx trucks along their routes and grab the gifts, while others simply drive through residential neighborhoods looking for packages. Madison Police Captain John Stringer said they see an increase in car burglaries since people tend to hide gifts in their car and leave them unlocked.

United States Postal Inspector Tony Robinson said holiday doorstep thefts vary in certain areas, but the threat is real, and there are things you can do to make sure your presents stay put.

"All it has to do is occur once and it's one time too many, especially if that happens to be your gift that you are looking for," he said. 

"Typically what may happen is you have one particular area have a hot bed all of a sudden, and that's why it's always important that they reach out to the law enforcement and also the post office when they suspect they have a problem with their US Mail," Robinson continued.

Before there is a problem, Robinson said you can be proactive.

"Contact your local post office and ask to have a mail hold order put on your mail," he advised.  "That'll keep your mail safe and secure at the post office, and it's good for 30 days."

If you don't want to do the mail hold, you can ask the carrier to direct the package to their local office for you to pick up, or make it so a signature is required.

You can also try asking a trusted neighbor to sign for your package, or have your package delivered to a location where someone can receive it in person. Also, make sure you track your packages.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved. 

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