Tips for avoiding "Porch pirates" this holiday season

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- "Porch pirates" strike most often around the holiday season when thousands of packages are delivered to doorsteps all across Michiana. ABC57 got some tips from UPS about what to do to keep your packages safe from thieves.

UPS delivery man Tim Rupert tries to hide the packages he delivers as best he can.

"You got to use discretion on stuff you can leave," said Rupert.

For the past 24 years, his goal is to get the package to its rightful owner.

But a new type of Grinch might be stopping by your doorstep.

Home surveillance cameras all across the country are catching these porch pirates in the act.

Rupert says he does what he can to keep packages safe.

"The idea is to be out of sight, out of weather, you got to use your driver discretion if the package appears valuable- make sure they're home, get a signature obviously," said Rupert.

There are three easy ways to avoid porch pirates:

1. Require a signature for delivery

2. Request the delivery be left with a neighbor

3. Ship to your work address

"Monday is actually going to be our heaviest pick up volume day so come Tuesday and Wednesday- those will be our heaviest delivery days," said Tod Kohler, business manager of South Bend UPS Center.

In Michiana, 41 UPS drivers drop off 20,000 packages a day.

The company hires seasonal helpers to handle the volume

"They work independently. If they come up to a house the driver could deliver on the one side of the street and the helper would deliver on the other side of the street," said Kohler.

To make sure you're home for the delivery, there's a new program called "My Choice"

"It lets them know when a package is coming. And if they like they can have that package delivered to an alternate location," said Kohler.

Or set the time frame you'll be home.

That way drivers like Rupert can say "Happy Holidays" instead of hiding the package under your door mat.

"I enjoy it. People are excited to show up at your house, it does get a little trying sometimes. It's a lot of hours. But it's good and I think if you ask anybody that works at UPS they'd probably say they're proud to work there," said Rupert.

If your package was delivered and it's nowhere to be found, the South Bend Police Department encourages you to file a police report.

There's often not much you can do if a company can prove the package was delivered to your home, but some delivery companies will be more likely to help if you have proof of a police report on file.


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