Thieves are on the prowl in Lake and Porter counties, stealing holiday packages from unsuspecting consumers’ doorsteps.
Porter County and Lowell appear to be the hardest hit by these package pilferers, police said. But there are measures consumers can take to avoid being victimized.
Lowell Assistant Police Chief Scott Tokach said about a half-dozen residents of the town and surrounding area had packages stolen during the past week.
The thefts were not limited to one subdivision. They encompass many areas, including apartment buildings.
Tokach recommends having packages delivered when the consumer is home or a neighbor is available to take them.
If the recipient will not be home, Tokach recommends telling the delivery service to place the package in a nonconspicuous secure place.
“Neighbors should be observant and vigilant when packages are dropped off,” Tokach said. “Neighbors should observe that no one is following the truck or stopping in the driveway within a short time.
"If they see something suspicious, they should give the police a call immediately with as much information as possible -- vehicle color, description of the driver, license plate number and direction of travel.”
Tokach said another option is having the package delivered to work if an employer allows it.
Porter County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Larry LaFlower said his jurisdiction had about four package thefts this holiday season.
“It always happens this time of the year,” LaFlower said. “It is pretty widespread.”
LaFlower also said it is best to have packages delivered when consumers are home or have neighbors watch out for the deliveries.
UPS spokesperson Natalie Godwin said the company began its UPS My Choice program last year. The free program alerts consumers by text or email as to when and where their packages will be delivered.
If the time doesn’t work or the consumer won’t be home, they can either reschedule delivery or reroute the package.
Godwin said the package can also be sent to the local UPS Store which will hold it for pick up. More than 2.1 million consumers have registered for the service, Godwin said.
FedEx and DHL also have services to guard against theft, according to the websites of the companies.
Godwin estimates UPS will deliver 527 million packages in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, surpassing last year’s total of 480 million.