December 7, 2018 – The Westchester County Department of Consumer Protection is warning residents to protect themselves from Grinch-like criminals who are stealing packages from front porches this holiday season.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “As more and more holiday shopping is done online, this is a problem that is continuing to grow. This holiday season, take steps to protect yourself by keeping up with the best shipping options offered online and – if you can – take precautionary measures to ensure that your packages reach their intended destination.”

Consumer Protection advocates strongly recommend that you take actions to protect yourself. Some homeowners are installing cameras to catch possible thieves in the act, but while that may be helpful to law enforcement, your package may already be stolen and it is sometimes difficult to catch the culprit. Tracking package deliveries though USPS, FedEx, UPS or whichever shipping provider is being used is also a smart idea to let you know when packages will arrive.

Consumer Protection Director Jim Maisano said: “Many alternative shipping options exist to combat this problem, including delivering packages to a friendly neighbor who is home all the time, or directly to a nearby FedEx or UPS store, and stopping by to pick up packages there.”

Other options include “Amazon Locker” – all that is needed is to visit a local Amazon Locker location, enter the code provided, and there is your package. Amazon is also offering services like “Amazon Key” where, if you have electronic car locks, your package will be delivered to your car in your driveway and locked up for its safe delivery.

No matter what way you choose to receive any expected packages this year, be sure to be aware of the growing “porch pirate” trend.