Police, mail company offer tips to keep holiday packages safe - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Police, mail company offer tips to keep holiday packages safe

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Mail companies are expecting a huge influx of holiday packages this season, and some people won't be around to receive those packages in person.

"If it's just left on the front porch and it's visible, I mean, there's always the risk factor it's going to be stolen," said Capt. Phil Trent of the South Bend Police Department.

Jonathan Dickey of Niles, Michigan said it nearly happened to him. His mom sent him a $150 guitar, but when he wasn't home to receive the box, the carrier left it on the front porch.

"You know, someone could have just picked it up and gotten a free guitar at that point. You know, I mean, that would have been... you know, my mom would have wasted her money," said Dickey.

Glen Molnar, owner of the UPS store on South Bend Avenue, said his mail company expects to send 120 million packages the week before Christmas. Mail carriers often have to decide what to do with packages when the person receiving them isn't home. Molnar said carriers will leave packages on the front porch, but only if they feel it's safe.

"If they don't think it's a safe area, they'll try three days in a row to deliver it. Then after the third day, the package goes back to the sender," said Molnar.

Molnar said they may even hide the package behind a bush. "Out of sight, out of mind," said Molnar. He added that you can call your mail company and ask them to deliver the package to the back of the house where it's safe, or ship it to the UPS store itself.

You may be surprised, but Captain Trent said they don't get many reports of stolen packages. But he still offers this advice: If you know the time of delivery, have a friend pick up the package. Consider shipping it to a neighbor who will be home, or even to your work place.       

"A lot of times, if you're an apartment dweller, you're belonging to a condo association, you're kind of in luck because there's usually a business office that's open and you can just have the packages shipped to the business office or have the delivery made to the business office," said Capt. Trent.

No matter where you have a package shipped, keep your eye on your phone. Some companies will send you a text message when you've got a delivery.

Some mail companies are now allowing you to customize your delivery. You can go online and pick the exact time, date, and part of the house where you want your package delivered.

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