With package deliveries picking up for the holidays, it is time to think about making sure those packages don’t fall into the wrong hands.

Police Chief Ralph Dance said people need to consider ways to avoid the “porch pirates” who take advantage of the holiday season for a crime of opportunity.

“It’s become a problem not just for packages,” he said. “We’re having a lot of porch thefts, whether it be yard art or different things sitting on your porch.”

Now that shopping season is here, “We’d like everyone to be aware that this is the time of year that people will be looking to steal packages off porches, and they need to take precautions.”

The downtown area has had a rash of porch thefts recently.

For package deliveries from the post office, UPS and FedEx, the chief said one good option is to have a neighbor who is around during the daytime to pick up packages or even have the package delivered to a neighbor who is home during the day.

Security cameras in the porch area, and signs of a security system, are also recommended deterrents. Dance said a lockbox that a delivery person can drop packages into is another option. And Amazon now has lockers available at several locations in the city where packages can be delivered.

The chief encourages residents to keep an eye on their neighborhoods and report any suspicious activity to the police department.

Another threat of concern is people running into trouble when they sell or buy something online and meet a stranger to complete the transaction.

“A lot of states are having problems with folks that are buying off of eBay and other places from individuals, and they’re showing up and getting robbed,” said Dance.

He said residents are welcome to meet in front of the police department on South Harper Road to complete transactions. The parking lot in front of the P.D. office is covered with camera surveillance.

Staff Writer

Jebb Johnston is a 1991 Alcorn Central High School graduate and a 1995 Ole Miss journalism graduate. His primary beats are city and county government.

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