MIAMI (CBSMiami) – 'Tis the season for porch pirates as holiday gifts are being delivered to porches across the nation.
With the rise in deliveries has come an increase of what postal inspectors refer to as porch pirates - thieves who follow delivery trucks, collecting packages as they are delivered.
"They see a package that was recently delivered, drive-by, pick it up. Crime of opportunity," Postal Inspector Ivan Ramirez told CBS4's David Sutta.
The problem is so common many homeowners are now taking matters into their own hands.
Michael Garrison captured a thief on security camera taking off with his deliveries.
"He acted like he was going to knock but he didn't and he's like is anyone looking and he's off," described Garrison.
The problem is so common; some homeowners are now taking matters into their own hands.
"Last two months, I've had four packages come up missing and I just wanted a way to even the score," explained Jaireme Barrow.
Barrow rigged up a box that scares off thieves with a harmless bang.
Anna Nedeau, from Kansas City, was so frustrated with stolen packages, she placed a special gift from her pets in a box for would be thieves.
"Cat poo and poo, poo, poo. I just want them to get so frustrated that all these packages they are picking up has poo in them," said Nedeau.
Inspector Ramirez doesn't advise tackling thieves. He does believe though that certain homes are more likely to fall victim.
"They are not gated communities. These older established communities for the most part. That you can drive in and out of. You won't be detected," said Ramirez.
There are more traditional ways to protect your packages.
You can have them delivered to work or a neighbor or you can buy a lock box, where you give a code to the delivery driver and the package is placed inside.
Amazon also has lockers available at convenience and grocery stores where your deliveries are kept.
However, authorities across the country are stepping up efforts to prevent these thefts.
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, officers use bait packages with GPS trackers inside the boxes.
If a thief takes off with the package, the police can track them down.
They hope this method will deter other criminals from stealing this year holiday gifts.
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