Nationally, 49 million Americans have had at least one package stolen in the past 12 months.
GROVE CITY, Ohio — It’s that time of year again when packages arrive on doorsteps every day, and so are thieves. Porch pirates are on the prowl all year, but they’re especially active during the holiday season, according to Grove City Police.
To protect your property, officers suggest tracking your packages, coordinating with family and friends when you’re out of town, and installing an outdoor security camera.
“A lot of times folks put their cameras up kind of in a higher vantage point, we would prefer you had them like a ring doorbell, not ring necessarily, but a doorbell camera that would face toward their face. So, if they come up to the package, we can actually make an identification or increase our odds and make an identification rather than seeing the top of someone’s head,” said Lt. Jason Stern, Grove City Police.
The Grove City Division of Police offers a few holiday safety tips to help ensure you and your family have a safe and happy holiday season.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Look around.
- Park in a well-lit area and be sure to lock your vehicle. Be certain shopping bags or purses are not visible in your vehicle. Place items in the trunk when possible.
- Do not approach your car alone when you are apprehensive about those around your vehicle.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay with a check or credit card when possible.
- Never provide credit card numbers unless you initiate the purchase.
- Carry your purse close to your body and not across your body; keep purses on one shoulder. Place wallets in an inside or front pants pocket.
- Teach your children to go to a store clerk or security guard if they become lost or separated.
- Be aware of strangers approaching you for any reason. “Con-artists” take advantage of holiday generosity to distract you with the intention of theft. It is not uncommon for criminals to solicit door-to-door, asking for donations to sham charitable causes.
- Be wary of emails from unfamiliar sources. Unrealistic discounts may be phishing schemes used to get your personal information.
- Know who you’re buying from! Stick to well-known companies and search for reviews from customers before ordering.
- Stay aware of expected packages being delivered, be on the lookout for porch pirates. Consider getting a home camera system or taking advantage of a package delivery locker (such as one through Amazon or UPS). You can also ask for delivery drivers to place packages out of sight when they make deliveries.
- If making a purchase online from websites such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, consider using one of Grove City’s Internet Purchase Exchange Zones.
While out for the evening…
- Turn on lights and a radio or TV so it appears someone is home.
- Be diligent about locking your doors and windows, even when you’re gone for a short time.
- Do not display gifts or high-priced items in your home where they can be seen from the outside.
When going out of town…
- Fill out a Request for Home Security Check form online or visit the Safety Complex, 3360 Park St.; forms are available in the lobby. Your home will be checked by the Grove City Division of Police while you are away.
- Stop your mail and newspaper or ask a neighbor to collect for you.
- Advise a trusted neighbor you will be out of town. Ask them to report any suspicious activity to the police immediately.
If you’re a victim, you can report a porch pirate theft online.
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