Sarasota Police remind residents to protect homes against porch pirates

Porch Pirates

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - It’s that time of year again. The holiday season means people are doing more shopping and, often, online.

This also means the porch pirates are back, finding those deliveries and getting to them before the owner does. So how can you avoid becoming a victim?

UPS said one way that’s becoming increasingly popular is choosing not to have your package delivered at home at all.

“Every day we’re seeing people come in and pick up packages that have been redirected here, largely, I think, because of the porch pirate situation," said Ken Howard, owner of the UPS store in the Downtown Sarasota Broadway Promenade.

'Tis the season.

“On Monday we just, absolutely were slammed by 2 o’clock,” Howard explained. “We couldn’t even hardly get into the door with packages.”

This UPS location said it’s seen more and more people opting to have their packages delivered straight to their store, especially for the particularly valuable gifts.

“We hear a lot of stories, you know you can imagine, throughout any given week," Howard said. "So even people from gated communities and things like that, we’re hearing that packages are still missing somehow.”

Sarasota Police said it can and does happen anywhere.

“Having a package stolen can happen to anyone," explained Genevieve Judge, public information officer for the Sarasota Police Department. “It’s a crime of opportunity.”

A crime of opportunity that hasn’t occurred more often this month, as far as Sarasota Police can tell, but also one that often goes unreported.

“You may be one of several, but we’re not aware of it if you don’t call us," Judge explained. "So we really encourage folks to call law enforcement, let us get involved, let us be aware of it so we can try to catch those responsible.”

SPD said to prevent the porch pirates from stopping at your home, you can send your package to a trusted neighbor, or work.

You should also require a signature for the package so the delivery person won’t leave it unattended at the door and if you’re not going to be home, make it look like you are. Leave a light on or a car in the driveway because a burglar will be less likely to steal.

“Something you can do to protect your home is get a home security system that way you can keep an eye on it when you’re not home," said Judge.

Police said you can also have the package delivered to a lock box inside a number of local convenience stores.

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