Preventing porch piracy as holiday shopping season begins

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

The holiday shopping season is already starting, and that means package thieves may be watching out for easy targets. KAKE News takes a look at a few steps you can take to keep your packages and your holiday gifts safe.

"We've seen an increase in our package volume already," said Wichita Postmaster Ryon Knopic. "It seems like each year, it keeps getting earlier and earlier. Before, it used to be Black Friday or Thanksgiving. Now, it's a week or two before."

With more packages being delivered earlier, package thieves may have more opportunities to steal things you order online. While security cameras might help police catch thieves who walk up to your home and steal your packages, you can take actions to prevent the porch thefts altogether.

"Something as simple as opting to in-store or curbside pickup, you can also ship to your office," said Best Buy In-Home Advisor Angelica Fonseca. "Ship to a family member's house who is home more often than them. You can sign up for text message updates through a carrier like UPS or FedEx."

A local UPS store owner in Wichita said UPS offers an "access point" program.

"There's different locations, like a Michaels, but it's a typical retail location that it's at," said UPS store owner Kenny Mathis. "It's not a locker. It is a 'manned location,' if you will." You can click here to learn more about the Access Points.

"If you work out east but live out west, then you can have it delivered to an access point out east close to your work," Mathis said.\

FedEx offers a similar service, where you can redirect packages to a store like Walgreens. Click here for more on the FedEx Delivery Manager program.

Amazon offers more than a dozen locker locations around Wichita, where you can have a package sent instead of your home. Click here for those locations if you're signed into your Amazon account.

Wichita's postmaster said you can keep your mail safe while traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday by putting your mail on hold. Click here to find out how to put a temporary hold on your mail delivery.

"One of the other options is, you can do a 'hold for pickup," Knopic said. "Go to USPS.com. If you know you're going to get a package, we pull that package and will hold it at the Post Office."

The postmaster said the best way to keep a package from being stolen from your porch is to be home when it arrives, or arrange to have the package sent to a safe location.