‘Tis the season of gifts, giving, and sometimes grabbing. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, millions of packages are showing up on doorstops across the nation. There’s nothing like hearing your long-awaited parcel has arrived, but not if it’s snatched by porch pirates first.

“Going out, staking out a neighborhood after parcels have been dropped off, then casually grabbing them off the porch,” South Burlington Police Chief Shawn Burke said.

Chief Burke says they’re anticipating an uptick of package theft in the coming weeks. However, he says the pandemic has created complications for these kind of bandits.

“With more and more people working from their homes, it has disrupted the criminal element in the sense that it’s not as easy to get into quiet neighborhoods during the day and perpetrate these types of crimes,” Chief Burke said.

He adds doorbell cameras are valuable tools, but often time, only after the crime has already been committed. It’s no secret online shopping sky-rocketed last year. Postal staff say it wasn’t just Christmas presents, but everything from toilet paper to groceries, too. While that hasn’t changed, this year, supply chain issues have people thinking ahead.

“We’re getting busy right now,” Steve Doherty with USPS said. “We’re seeing the rush coming fortunately a little earlier. I think people are heeding the warning to shop early and ship earlier and get ahead of the curve.”

Doherty says the overflow of packages prompted USPS to put up more than 100 new facilities and that many additional sorting machines. As far as keeping your mail secure, police and postal staff recommend having it delivered to your workplace, or requiring a signature for delivery.

“Or perhaps you do have a neighbor working from home who could watch for that delivery and take it off your porch,” Burke said.