Law enforcement warns of “porch pirates” ahead of Amazon Prime Day

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Consider it Christmas in July.

Amazon Prime Day starts Monday and runs through Tuesday and for Prime members, millions of items will be available at a discount to order online.

However, just like any busy mailing time, Prime Day can turn into prime time for thieves.

Last year, the Nextdoor app reported an 85 percent increase in comments and posts about package theft during around Prime Day period.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says deputies are aware of Prime Day and will be out patrolling neighborhoods. However, they can’t patrol everywhere at once and suggest online shoppers take proactive measures to protect their purchases.

“We need neighbors to watch out for neighbors, keep an eye on your neighborhood,” said HCSO spokesperson Amanda Granit. “You know who is supposed to be there and who is not.”

Here are some tips on how to keep your packages safe:

  • Lockboxes: You can build or purchase a rugged lock box for your porch. Bolt it down to a permanent surface, concrete or asphalt work well.
  • Timely package collection: Pick up your package immediately after delivery, or have a neighbor collect it. UPS, USPS, and FedEx all have tracking services to get a better idea of when exactly your order will arrive. Amazon even offers package tracking through its mobile app for some deliveries.
  • Have your package delivered to you at work, so you can accept it immediately.
  • Require a signature on deliveries and insure your packages when possible.
  • Security cameras: Security cameras are a tried and true deterrent for all manner of criminal behavior. Thieves are very aware of cameras and often look for them before attempting theft.
  • Security signs: Post signs in your yard informing the poacher that your home is under video surveillance or has security alarms.
  • Report suspicious vehicles or people in your neighborhood right away.
  • Remember, you are the expert on what is normal for your neighborhood. Report suspicious activity or people immediately to the Sheriff’s Office at (813) 247-8000 or call 911 if you think there’s an emergency.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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