With package theft, a growing problem in America, police in one Valley community are again making an offer to prevent what some people call porch piracy.

According to a survey by C+R Research, more than one-third of Americans have dealt with package theft within the last year, and more than half are fearful of packages being stolen when making online purchases.

Leetonia police are once again accepting personal packages sent to the police department for residents who won't be at home to get them.

Interested homeowners should give the police department as the delivery address when ordering goods. The address is Leetonia Police Department, 300 East Main Street, Leetonia, Ohio, 44431.

Police Chief Allen Hauter says the person who places the order needs to contact police with information including their name, the date it will be arriving, and what is in the package.

Since the police department doesn't have storage space, the package must be picked up on the day they are delivered.

Hauter says the program is a way of keeping his officers from investigating reports of stolen packages that increase during the holiday season.

People who get medical prescription deliveries can also have them sent to the police department. Elderly or handicapped residents can have an officer deliver medications to their home during a shift when they are not busy.

For more details, contact Chief Allen Haueter at 330-427-6731.

Most deliveries don't require a signature and are generally left at your front door even if no one is home to accept them.

These packages, which quickly catch the eye of potential thieves, offer criminals that ‘Crime of Opportunity” they are looking for.

Thieves looking to steal your packages will follow or watch for UPS, Fed Ex, US Mail, and other delivery service trucks so they can target your home after the parcels are delivered.

While this type of crime can occur at any time throughout the year, it usually increases around the holidays due to increased shopping practices of residents.

Below are some “Package Theft Prevention Tips” from the Tewksbury, Massachusetts Police, to help reduce your chances of becoming a victim of this crime.

If Possible:

  • Ask for a tracking number. Most major shipping companies offer this service at no charge. This number allows you to track your packages and notifies you when they will be delivered.
  • Request a “Signature Delivery Option.” This requires a signature when the packages are delivered and ensures they will not be left at the front door.
  • Request a specific drop off time and date when you will be home to accept your packages.
  • Arrange to have your packages held at the shipping service so you can pick them up.
  • Ask the delivery service to leave your packages at a side or back door. An enclosed porch where packages are out of sight is also a good option.
  • Have your packages delivered to your workplace.
  • Have your packages delivered to the home of a relative or neighbor who will be there to accept them.
  • Ask to have your packages delivered to a retail store so you can pick them up at your convenience.
  • Ask a trustworthy neighbor to keep a “Watchful Eye” out for your packages. If they’re willing, ask them to safeguard your packages until you return home.
  • Leave a note for the carrier instructing them where to leave your packages (Ex: backdoor)
  • If your packages do not arrive as scheduled contact the sender immediately

What Should You Do If You See Packages Being Stolen In Your Neighborhood?

  1. Call 911 immediately! Tell the call taker you are reporting a “Crime In Progress.”
  2. Provide police with an accurate description of the suspect(s) and any vehicles that may be used.