Pelham police offers tips to deter thieves this holiday season

PELHAM – The Pelham Police Department is encouraging residents to beware of porch pirates this holiday season and to take the necessary steps to deter thieves.

Police Chief Larry Palmer said porch pirates, people who steal delivered packages from doorsteps, have been around for a long time but the problem is perhaps becoming a bigger issue because more people are buying online and having products delivered to their home.

“We try to patrol our neighborhoods constantly, but we’re stretched thin,” Palmer said. “We need our community’s help. We need everyone to keep an eye out in their neighborhoods and to call us if anything looks suspicious.”

Vehicle break-ins and purse snatchings also increase around the holiday season. Palmer said criminals break in to unlocked cars all the time.

“We had several thefts last month where items were stolen from cars that were left unlocked,” he said. “Make sure you lock your doors.”

In addition to locking doors, Palmer said don’t leave valuable items in vehicles.

“Don’t leave your purse, laptops or packages sitting in your car,” he said. “Put it in your trunk. If a thief sees something in your car – even if the door is locked – they will break a window to get what you’ve got.”

Palmer said shoppers should always be prepared to enter their vehicles.

“Have your keys ready,” he said. “If someone approaches you, go on alert. A lot of the time people are at their car fumbling and looking for their keys or they’ll sit their purse on the hood of the car while the load bags into the car – don’t do that.”

For those having packages delivered this holiday season, here are some other tips to consider:

-When having packages delivered, sign up for delivery alerts from the shipper. If no one is home during delivery, message a neighbor to have them take the package back to their place until you get home.

-Leave instructions to have the delivery person drop the package at your back door.

-If possible, require a signature for all deliveries. If there’s no one home to sign for the package, it won’t be left at the home.

-If possible, have packages delivered to your workplace.

-Be neighborly. If you see a package sitting on a neighbor’s doorstep, reach out and ask if they would like you to hold it until they are home.

-Consider installing surveillance cameras around your home, especially at the front door.

-Look into buying extra insurance for valuable items.

-Consider having the package delivered to the retail chain you’re buying from and pick it up at one of their local stores.