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RCMP advise residents to watch for porch pirates during the holidays

RCMP detachments across Alberta are advising residents to be mindful of porch pirates this holiday season.

According to Grande Prairie RCMP Public Information Officer Corporal Mathew Howell, between January and October, more than 580 mail thefts have been reported across the province and that number is expected to climb higher during the holidays.

“With online shopping and all of these different ways to get goods shipped to your home, there is a risk with regards to mail theft,” he says. “Between November and December, you have multiple sales like Black Friday or Cyber Monday so there’s a lot coming in, people are ordering Christmas gifts.”

As a result of the anticipated uptick, Howell shared some advice for residents to make sure they avoid any holiday headaches due to stolen packages.

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According to the RCMP, making sure packages do not end up sitting on your porch for too long is one of the simplest ways to ensure shipments are not stolen.

Howell says asking a neighbour or trusted friend to receive the package on your behalf is a simple and effective method of package protection; however, if that option is unavailable, there are numerous alternatives to make sure your Christmas gifts get into the right hands.

“If you can opt for a signature required delivery or provide delivery instructions for the delivery person to place it somewhere out of sight,” he says. “Make sure you’re tracking your shipments so you know when it’s going to be at your door, [but] try to have deliveries come when you know you’re going to be home.”

Additionally, the RCMP is “strongly recommending” the use of doorbell cameras and motion sensor lights as a deterrent for any would-be sticky bandits. Howell adds that even if a thief is bold enough to steal your package in front of a camera, the footage can be utilized in a police investigation.

“If your package is ever stolen you can use that for information to give to the police in order to hopefully apprehend the suspect,”

To raise awareness surrounding package theft during the holidays, the Alberta RCMP has launched a month-long campaign on RCMP social media and interested residents can use #MailSafety to keep up with further updates from police.

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