Don’t Become a Porch Pirate Victim This Holiday Season

1 in 2 people are concerned they will be victims of porch pirate thefts this holiday season: study

Cyber Monday sales are on track to bring in a record amount of money — an estimated $9 billion. 

And if you ordered something, you're likely expecting a package in the coming weeks.

But there's someone else on the lookout for your packages, too: Porch pirates.

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Lawmakers hope a new law could stop them. House Bill 37 went into effect in Texas in September. If you're caught and convicted of porch piracy, you could spend anywhere from six months to 10 years in prison. There are also fines from $4,000 to $10,000.

However, the new law won't necessarily stop thieves from doing what they do during the holiday season.

There are ways you can prevent from being victim, though.

We spoke with Plano and Frisco Police departments to create a checklist for yourself while ordering online:

• Don't be lazy about it. Track your shipments online so you know exactly when the packages are arriving. You can set up alerts on your phone through the app of the company you ordered from or text messages.
• Require a signature on delivery so that the package is not left at the door.
• Schedule your pick up for when you will be home.
• Ask your neighbor to pick it up and hold it for you.
• Have the packages sent to your workplace.

"You have to stay on top of it because they're following these delivery trucks around and just grabbing them right off the porch. So having those video cameras are so nice. So many people have been caught on camera," said Officer Chris Bianez with the Plano Police Department, adding that security footage from cameras has helped them solve crimes.  

Depending on the brand, you can find cameras for as cheap as $25, which you can place inside your window or install as a doorbell camera.

"For anybody working as a delivery driver this holiday season, if you could try to place the packages to where they're not viewable from the street, that could help as well," said Sgt. Evan Mattei with the Frisco Police Department.

If you really want to get clever, police said there are some alternative methods you can try.

"You can also deliver them to a locker. A lot of these retailers have a locker where you have them dropped off there and then go pick up your item," suggested Officer Bianez. He said some stores might even offer pick up from FedEx or UPS offices.

You can also create a hidden space on your own porch using a giant planter pot or a box with a numerical lock pad.

"If you're really handy and want to make sure those packages are delivered but kept safe, you can install a package lock box on your front porch. That is something a delivery driver can place the package in and lock it back," said Sgt. Mattei.

According to a recent study by home security company Canary — which compiled data from third-party research house YouGov — close to one in five Americans said they would rather endure the inconvenience of a one-hour wait on a checkout line so they can avoid stolen gifts.

The study also says nearly 1 in 2 people are concerned they will be victims of porch pirate thefts this holiday season.

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