Tips on preventing package theft and break-ins during the holidays

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- There have been many videos posted on social media of "porch pirates" taking packages. While some get away, others do not. There are products out there, such as the "The Blank Box," that are supposed to deter the thief. The Blank Box is rigged with fishing wire and 12-gauge shotgun blanks that go off when the box is lifted.

To prevent package theft, postal inspectors suggest getting tracking on your packages. If packages are going to be delivered when you are not home, try getting a friend or neighbor to pick it up. Another option would be to request that your package be delivered only if someone signs for it.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office posted a few tips to help prevent theft during the holidays. The sheriff's office posted "If you order a package, select a destination where someone will be there to receive it. Possibilities other than your house include your workplace or a relative who is typically always home. Also, sign up for text or email delivery notifications from companies so you know when your shipment arrives."

Other tips they offer to help prevent theft is to remember to lock your car doors and windows to your home. Also, make sure to remove your garage door opener from your car if it is parked outside because criminals can return later and use it to burglarize your home.

If your car is parked outside remove all valuable items from inside. The sheriff's office said hot ticket items for thieves include: Packages, cell phones, purses, and wallets.

To prevent identity theft, it's also a good idea to remove personal documents from your glove box or console. Vehicle registration and insurance cards can be kept in your wallet, just make sure to keep extra copies in a safe place at home. Never carry your social security card on you.

Activate any anti-theft devices you may have on your vehicle or install one.

Install a burglar alarm and if possible surveillance camera. Check the systems on a regular basis to ensure they are functioning properly. Photographic evidence is proven to an important tool that helps detectives solve cases as it often allows the public get involved in looking for suspects.
Try to keep your property well lit and consider purchasing motion activated lights. Keep bushes and trees trimmed back to limit hiding places around your house. Criminals tend to hide in these bushes to gain entry into your home.

Stay aware of activity in your neighborhood and report suspicious persons or suspicious activity to the Sheriff's Office.

If you go on vacation, do not publicize it, and keep the circle of people you notify to a very small number. Try to get to know your neighbors and exchange phone numbers and email addresses to stay informed. Before heading out of town, arrange for a trusted friend to retrieve your mail and newspapers upon delivery.

Do you have video or pictures of someone taking your packages? If so, tag us on social media using #ABC30Insider.
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