GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The COVID-19 pandemic means many more shoppers will be buying online this holiday season. And more packages left on doorsteps means more opportunities for porch pirates to strike.
“It’s a crime of opportunity,” Gulfport Police Officer Jason DuCre said. “The more packages we have delivered due to COVID, it just gives these thieves more opportunity."
And there’s another crime that also sees an uptick this time of year.
“Vehicle burglaries. Those go up during that time period,” Officer Hanna Hendry said.
Officers say they’re doing what they can to help prevent burglaries and break-ins this holiday season. And there are some simple ways you and your neighbors can help.
One easy step is to customize your delivery times for when you’re home. Or have packages delivered to a loved one or your place of business when no one’s home. Also, consider taking advantage of the “Ship to Store” option many stores offer.
If you know a package will have to stay outside for a while, "Tell the carrier to place it somewhere where it’s not in plain view,” DuCre said.
Keep your car doors locked and be mindful about what you leave inside.
Hendry said, “Take things inside that are valuable to you or put them in your truck so they’re not in plain view. That helps out a lot.”
But the main key is saying something if you see something.
“We ask that people call. If we don’t get the phone call, we don’t get the report of a burglary, we don’t know it’s happening. A lot of people post strictly on Facebook, but the police need to know about it too so we can step up our patrols and be more active in the area,” Hendry said.
And if you do become a victim of theft, or your shipment gets lost, be sure to file a claim with your carrier.
United States Postal Service: USPS.com/help/claims.htm