WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Tis’ the season. Millions of packages are being shipped across the country, hoping to make it in time for the holidays. Not all of those gifts make it inside.

Maddie Payne lives in southwest Wichita. She recently had packages delivered to her home, but by the time she and her husband got home, they were gone.

“It says, ‘Bing, camera recording,'” Payne described.

She hoped her security camera system would have been enough to deter any thieves;
that was not the case.

“Someone had just come up, taken it and drove off. I’m a teacher, and I was at school and (my husband) texted me our packages got stolen. I thought it was just him messing with me, but then I looked, and he wasn’t,” she said.

The person caught on camera. Packages full of toys and necessities for Payne’s two boys were
gone.

“You don’t expect those things to happen to you. Kind of like your heart dropping into your stomach, and then it was, ‘OK, let’s try to figure out if we can get a license plate. What can we get figured out right now?'” Payne said.

Andover Police Department (APD) is increasing patrols to deter porch pirates.

“We’re driving all the neighborhoods following vans and really trying to keep a presence known,” said Ben Graber, APD Operations Commander.

Graber says security cameras are the best way to deter thieves. There are other tips too.

“If you have a neighbor that you can trust, contact them. Have them get it for you,” he said. “Have it dropped off at a specific location; I know several of these companies have drop boxes. Utilize those so that you can go pick it up on your time, and it’s not sitting out in a public view.”

Payne hopes thieves will think before taking, “It’s not always like, ‘Oh, those people can afford those presents.’ My son is 4 months old. So, I just got back from an unpaid maternity leave, so it’s a hard time of season.”

If anyone steals a package from your porch, you’re encouraged to report it to your local police department.

More tips:

  • Track your packages. Make a list or mental note about when your packages are arriving and quickly retrieve them.
  • Sign up for Key by Amazon. This function allows carriers to put your package in a safer location.
  • Consider getting a package lockbox. Carriers will be able to place a package within the box, but only the keyholder will be allowed to retrieve the package.
  • Don’t rely on emails or virtual assistants to inform you when your package has arrived. Packages can be stolen even when you’re home if you’re not quick enough. Leave a note for your carrier to ring your doorbell or knock on your door either in the delivery instructions or a note on your door.
  • Decorate your porch. Have decorations on your porch that can help hide packages, such as furniture or plants. You can leave a note for your carrier to utilize them either in the delivery instructions or a note on your door.
  • Ask to have packages put in a different location. Leave a note for your carrier to hide packages in a predetermined location, either in the delivery instructions or a note on your door.
  • Have it delivered elsewhere. This could include drop boxes, lockers, work, a friends/family member’s house, or even ship-to-store.
  • Install a smart camera. Whereas they may not stop every porch pirate, smart cameras, such as a video doorbell, can alert you when your package is being delivered for quick retrieval.
  • Consider purchasing a mailbox sensor. If you own a mailbox, you can purchase a sensor that can be attached inside to notify you when it has been opened.
  • Require a signature on delivery. Most companies will allow the customer the option of requiring a signature on delivery. In that case, the carrier cannot leave the package out in the open on your doorstep.