UNDATED – It‘s the season for many residents to purchase items online and have them shipped to their home. It’s also a time when police see an increase in the activity of the porch pirate – a person or persons who drive through a neighborhood looking for packages left on front porches. The items are then stolen leaving the victim with a potentially ruined holiday. Authorities have a number of tips for residents to protect themselves from such thievery. Have packages delivered to where you are, not to where you aren’t. If possible, consider having packages delivered to your place of employment instead of your home. Use tracking numbers and delivery notifications. Most major shipping companies offer this service for free, and may also send you a text or email when your package arrives. Ask family members, trusted neighbors, and friends to accept deliveries on your behalf or ask them to pick up your packages for you. Request packages to be placed in a less conspicuous spot, such as a side door or behind a planter or garbage can. Many shipping companies now allow you to request a delivery time or time frame. Schedule packages for when someone is home. Install a smart security camera at your front door and request signature on delivery of packages, if possible. Some companies and shippers offer locker services for packages to be held at the distribution center for pick up by the customer. Similarly, you can have an item shipped directly to an area store where you can safely pick it up. Keep an eye out for suspicious vehicles and people in your neighborhood and report suspicious activity to police as it is occurring. Calling after the fact makes it much harder to thwart potential criminal activity.