Tips to prevent mail and package theft

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) The holidays are a time for giving, but thieves see it as a time for taking.

Package theft graphic by MGN.

Unattended boxes left on front porches are easy targets for porch pirates who often get away with the crime.

Eyewitness News spoke to police and a spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service who offer tips to prevent the theft.

"This is a crime of opportunity," explains Detective Jeff Piper with the Maize Police Department. "Unless we have a camera or video evidence or a witness that saw the person that can get us a vehicle description or a tag number, most of these cases--unfortunately--will go unsolved."

Piper says one of the best tips he has for protecting deliveries is to the track the package online. Delivery companies like FedEx, UPS, and the USPS all have tracking options on their websites.

He says you should try to be at home when you know your items will be delivered, but if you find yourself away at that time, he says you should have a neighbor or a friend grab the box for you.

"You can also request that the item be held at a UPS store or a FedEx store and then you can pick the item up from there," says Piper.

Some companies also allow their employees to have items shipped directly to the office, but you should check with your employer before taking that route.

FedEx, UPS, and the USPS can all hold packages for customers to pick up at a later time. Just contact your store and let them know when you will be in to claim your items.

"If all else fails, you can use landscaping to your advantage," suggests Piper. "If you have pots with flowers or decorations around near your door, it provides an opportunity for the courier to hide your package behind items to where they’re not readily visible from the street.”

If you do find that a package was stolen from your porch, contact police. If you have security cameras, they might be able to track the thieves from their car, tag number, or appearance.

“It’s a crime that a lot of people can get away with," says Piper. "Simply because without a doorbell camera, without a witness, a lot of the time those individuals can go unnoticed and therefore they’re never caught so they can profit off of whatever they get.”