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(File Photo)

MPD advises citizens against ‘porch pirates’ this season

MADISON — Online shoppers may want to be extra vigilant about their packages now that the holiday season has arrived. At this time of year, cities across the country typically experience a spike in thefts of unattended packages on doorsteps.

While technology has helped curb these crimes in recent years with the creation of various apps and doorbell cameras, citizens are still at risk of becoming victims of package theft year round.

Package theft can happen at any time of year. | (File Photo)

The Madison Police Department recently posted a reminder to citizens on their Nextdoor page offering a list of precautions to help guard against these package thieves, or “Porch Pirates,” as they are often called.

The following is MPD’s list of protective suggestions when ordering gifts and other items online:

  • request that a signature be required for delivery
  • schedule a delivery time
  • arrange to pick the item up from the delivery service if a scheduled delivery time is not available
  • arrange for the item to be delivered to a trusted neighbor who will be available to receive packages on the delivery date
  • request package tracking numbers and check for the expected date and time of delivery to plan for receipt

Madison has been fortunate to avoid such cases so far this year and experienced only one last year, however, we want our citizens to be aware and proactive in protecting their deliveries this holiday season,” said MPD Capt. John Stringer.

Other actions citizens can take to protect themselves include insuring the package, having packages delivered to their workplace, leaving special instructions for the delivery driver and putting all mail and packages on hold if on vacation. If mailing something to a friend or family member as a gift, make sure they are expecting the package.

“We also encourage our citizens to be good neighbors,” MPD said in their post. “If you see a suspicious person or persons approaching homes who do not knock or ring the door bell, or appear to be removing items from porches, garages, or driveways, call the Madison Police Department.”

MPD also advised citizens to try to obtain a general description of suspects’ gender, race, height, weight, clothing description and vehicle.

To keep up with more notices from MPD, find them on Facebook at “Madison, Alabama Police Department” or on Twitter @madisonpoliceAL. MPD also posts messages on Nextdoor, a private social network for neighborhoods.

To contact MPD for a non-emergency matter, call 256-722-7190.

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