Protecting Your Packages

(WSVN) - ‘Tis the season for giving … and stealing. While holiday shoppers order online and wait for their gifts to be delivered, so are the crooks. 7’s Brian Entin is taking a look at how you can protect your packages this holiday season.

The holiday shopping season is underway, and millions of Americans are clicking and shipping this Cyber Monday. But they aren’t the only ones waiting for the packages to be delivered.

Cindy Novak, Miami Shores resident: “I get a text from my neighbor saying there’s a suspicious car that was parked in front of our house. Someone got out of the car, walked right over to our porch, and she saw them walking off with the package.”

Cindy Novak’s surveillance cameras picked up this thief’s every move.

Cindy Novak: “There was a camera right above his head filming his every move. He just went and took it and walked off, and we’ve got very, very clear shots and footage of him.”

But luckily, the crook didn’t make off with much…

Cindy Novak: “Air filters, and I highly doubt that they’ll be able to use them.”

More than 11 million people across the country had packages stolen from their front porches over the past year. Most were taken when no one was home.

Blanca Alvarez, U.S. Postal Inspector: “During the holidays, there’s more opportunity for them because more packages are being delivered.”

Postal inspectors call them porch pirates. To keep them from plundering your packages, make sure you don’t leave any boxes on the porch too long.

Blanca Alvarez: “Track their packages online. If they’re at work, they can have a neighbor pick it up or a relative.”

Cindy has a plan in place for her holiday shopping.

Cindy Novak: “I have everything delivered to me at my office, and my husband has everything delivered to him at his office, just because we don’t want to risk it anymore.”

There are a few high-tech ways to protect your packages. Miami is one of 37 cities to launch the “Amazon Key” service. Cameras connected to Wi-Fi in your home allow you to watch on your smartphone as a delivery driver uses an app to unlock your door, drop off your package and lock up when they leave.

Or you might want to try this gadget called the package guard. It will sound the alarm if anyone removes a package placed on the sensor.

Technology can help protect your packages, but the Postal Inspectors’ office said the real work starts at home.

Blanca Alvarez: “Crimes happen in every neighborhood whether it’s a nice neighborhood or a bad neighborhood. It happens everywhere. That’s why people need to be alert.”

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