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How to avoid porch pirates during busy mail season

Posted at 6:26 PM, Dec 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-17 18:27:57-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The weeks leading up to Christmas Day are among the busiest for the United States Postal Service. As people send out holiday cards and receive their own presents and packages, postal carriers in Western New York are doing twice as many runs as they would normally throughout the year.

"Because there's just so many packages that come through at Christmas time that we have to make that second run just to make sure we get everything out for everybody because we know how important it is to try and get as many of the packages to the customers as possible," Allen Huerner, a USPS Postal Carrier, explained on his second run of the day down Avon Road in the Town of Tonawanda on Monday.

"Letter trays, normally on an average day I have about three," he said. "Today, I had five just because of the increase in Christmas cards."

With so many more packages getting dropped off on front porches or front steps, this is also one of the busiest times of year for so-called porch pirates.

"People will drive around neighborhoods looking for packages on people's porches and it's a crime of opportunity," Trooper James O'Callaghan with NYS Police Troop A said. "If the opportunity is there, they're going to take it."

NYS Police warns against leaving packages on your front porch for any period of time. Police recommend having a relative or neighbor grab packages that are left out front or, if possible, have packages delivered to a workplace/office.

Homeowners are told to always report any stolen packages and be sure home surveillance systems are recording in case something happens.

USPS also tells customers to never leave delivered mail or packages unattended. It says customers can have USPS hold mail at a local Post Office if they are going out of town, have packages held at the Post Office for pickup or customize the delivery with instructions for carriers to leave in a specific location.