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Holiday Shopping Means Prime Time For Package Thieves; Expert Advice To Keep Your Deliveries Safe

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- With all the online shopping underway this weekend, soon you can expect to see a slew of boxes showing up on people's doorsteps.

Unfortunately, the holidays are also a prime time for thieves, but CBS2's Natalie Duddridge has tips to protect your packages.

Surveillance video from incident shows a suspect in a red hoodie use a lock pick to open an exterior and interior door at an apartment building in Kips Bay. Once inside, the man grabs a package and takes off.

Incidents like this happen all too often. Though police don't specifically track package theft, it falls under petit and grand larceny, which is up 18% this month.

Experts say the holiday shopping season is too tempting for thieves.

"This is really the beginning of package season. Unfortunately, that also means a lot of packages get stolen," CNET Editorial Director Dan Ackerman told Duddridge. "Every year, we hear about porch piracy, but it applies to people in apartments too."

Ackerman said there are some simple solutions to make sure your toys, gifts, clothes and food make it safely to your home.

"It's easy if you live in a doorman building, you don't have to worry about it. But for the rest of us, I always used to get my packages sent to my office. At least there I know it's locked up," he said. "You can also send packages to an Amazon locker... They have lockers set up in different stores... You find one nearby and have your stuff sent there."

There are also package delivery boxes that have an opening at the top for couriers to drop parcels into that you can unlock to retrieve at the bottom.

Experts also suggest requiring a signature, or asking a friendly neighbor to watch out for your goods.

Many companies allow you to ask for specific delivery times, like evenings or weekends. You can also sign up for USPS, FedEx and UPS alerts to track your package and delivery time, or invest in a surveillance camera.

"There's a lot of new tech now that's really helpful. A lot of people have outdoor security cameras that they can train right where packages get left," Ackerman said. "It's not going to stop someone from stealing a package, but if you see it, it acts as a deterrent."

Some companies also have an option for consumers to request a non-description box, so it doesn't reveal an alluring brand or logo. But that won't disguise a new TV or bicycle.

Happy shopping.

Click here for more from CNET.

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