The Metropolitan Police Department calls them “porch pirates,” thieves who enter neighborhoods to steal packages left outside.
And the department has shared some tips on its website to help residents thwart those unwelcome visitors after all that Cyber Monday online shopping.
Porch pirates often drive from house to house looking for unattended packages. To prevent having packages stolen, police recommend that people have boxes delivered when they know they will be home. If that’s not possible, packages can be delivered to the office or the home of someone who will be home at the time.
People also may choose the “delivery pick-up” option when online shopping so they can retrieve packages in person from a post office or similar business, the department said.
To make sure no packages are missing, follow tracking numbers online for delivery information.
Neighbors also can work together to keep an eye out for deliveries and pick up items when people aren’t home, the department said.
Other potential thieves may attempt to break into homes they think are unattended during the holidays. To prevent this, people shouldn’t ignore a knock or doorbell in case it is someone checking to see if the house is occupied.
If you don’t recognize the person, tell them you don’t open the door for strangers, the department said.