SHOREWOOD -- Three people were arrested Wednesday morning, November 22nd for theft after stealing packages left on the doorsteps of Shorewood homes.
According to Shorewood police, package theft is a common occurrence in the Milwaukee area and all over the nation. They say this type of crime tends to increase during holiday months as residents purchase more goods that are shipped to their homes. Many of these incidents are crimes of opportunity.
Police say an offender may not intend to target a particular home, but walks or drives by an area and sees an easy target where something of perceived value can be quickly taken without notice. Some of these criminals, also known as "porch pirates" will follow delivery drivers around and wait until a package or packages are dropped off. Once the delivery driver is out of sight, the packages are stolen.
Shorewood police have released the following tips to help avoid being the target of porch pirates:
REQUIRE PACKAGE SIGNATURE
If you have to sign for your items, the packages cannot be left on the doorstep. Instead, a note will be placed there letting you know the date they will try to make another delivery (or where you might be able to pick up the item instead).
DELIVERY TO WORK
If allowed, have all of your items delivered to your place of work. It may be a bit more inconvenient to load up items and take them home. But, at least they will not be stolen.
DELIVERY SERVICE TRACKING
Sign up for delivery service notifications. Both FedEx and UPS offer these services for free. You get an alert when a package is set to be delivered. That way, you can arrange for someone to be home when it will arrive.
If you are a member of UPS My Choice, you can upgrade your service for an annual fee. This will allow you to change the delivery address for any package or even change the delivery date to fit your schedule. That way, it will not be left on your doorstep.
DELIVER TO FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER
If you know someone who is home during the day, you might ask to use their address for delivery. That way, it will not sit on a doorstep and risk being stolen.
DESIGNATE SPECIFIC DELIVERY LOCATION
The USPS can allow you to authorize them to leave packages at locations other than the porch. They could include a back door, side door, neighbor or even a garage. To find out if this is an option, create an account with the USPS and enter your package tracking number. If you can do this, you will be advised at that time.
USE AMAZON LOCKER
Amazon Locker is a service where your packages are routed to a locker drop off. Once it is delivered, you are alerted and have 3 days to pick up your package at the designated site.
Amazon lockers are available at Whole Foods, 2305 N. Prospect Ave in Milwaukee and at Boston Store - Bayshore, 5701 N. Lydell Ave in Glendale.
USE A SECURE MAILBOX SERVICE
Sign up for a PO Box at the post office or even a location such as the UPS Store. You can have all packages delivered to these locations. They will be held securely until you stop by and pick them up.
There are fees associated with these services, but it might end up saving you money on those packages that are at risk of being stolen.
BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR
Get to know your neighbors to help one another out by picking up packages you see outside and drop texts or emails to alert one another what you’ve done.
That way, they are safe inside and won’t be grabbed by greedy thieves.
Always, as a good neighbor, be alert and report all crime and suspicious activity. If you see a package being stolen from a neighbor’s home, call 911 and report a "crime in progress."
If you see someone acting suspicious or a vehicle that might be casing the neighborhood, call police immediately with an accurate description of the suspect(s) and / or vehicle as well as exactly what they were doing. Being a good neighbor is always the best defense against crime.