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How to keep 'package pirates' from stealing your Christmas cheer

How to keep 'package pirates' from stealing your Christmas cheer

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No more braving long lines at the mall or knocking elbows to fight over the last toy at the department store. The Internet has ushered in a new era of Christmas shopping.

But with the surge of online shopping comes a new set of problems, one of them being making sure your packages make it safely into your home.

A wave of package thefts by so-called “package pirates” — and viral videos detailing the incidents — can leave shoppers uneasy, but the police department says there are a few tips to ward off thieves.

“People may want to have packages delivered to a neighbor they know is home instead of an empty house, or time their schedules to accommodate package deliveries,” Sgt. John Leone said. “You can also have a neighbor pick up the packages so they don’t sit out on your porch all day tempting thieves.”

Leone said people can also have packages delivered to their employer so the packages don’t sit on their front porch.

It’s hard to quantify the number of package thefts in the city over the past month as they all get lumped into the “larceny” category along with other such crimes, he said.

Leone said they haven’t necessarily seen an uptick in thefts, but social media reports make the issue seem more prevalent.

Earlier this month, police sent out a request for homeowners to be on alert for a “Christmas Grinch,” who was taking packages from porches in the area of Washington Park.

One woman reported that someone had stolen a package containing clothes valued at $150 from her house and another said packages were stolen from her porch in the middle of the night.

“We want people to be cognizant this crime does occur and that there are steps they can take to prevent it,” Leone said.

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