#happylife: Don’t be a victim of package theft this holiday season

It seems businesses have gone straight from Halloween to Christmas, as our inboxes and mailboxes continue to be overwhelmed by shopping deals and catalogs.

As Santa sightings and Christmas trees become more popular, so do boxes and shopping bags.

Spokane Police officers said they receive more reports of package thefts and car break-ins at this time of year because valuables are more accessible.

Thieves are all about convenience — packages on doorsteps and big screen TVs in the backseat are like sitting ducks.

Twenty-six million Americans have experienced a package theft. It’s no wonder 66% of Nextdoor app users said in they have opted to not have a package delivered.

This holiday season, protect your precious gifts by taking these extra precautions.

1. If you anticipate getting lots of package deliveries, it might be time to invest in a security doorbell.

When a mail carrier stops by to make a delivery, they can ring the bell to see if you are home. If you are not, you can request they keep the package until you are able to accept it in person.

Security system not in your budget? Go on your phone and download applications for your mail carrier. UPS and FedEx have options to deliver your package to a store location for pick-up, or an option to arrange a delivery at a later date.

2. When sending a package to a loved one, request a signature confirmation.

3. Purchase insurance for the contents inside the package.

4. If you know you are heading out of town, request that you have your mail held. There are cut-off times, so make sure you arrange this a few days in advance.

5. Call the mail carrier immediately if you find a package or piece of mail has been stolen. Alert the sender as they may have insurance or could send you a replacement.

6. Out supporting local businesses? Don’t leave items in the backseat.

Lock them in your trunk or bring them home after each stop. Make sure you park your car near the storefront, in a well-lit area with security cameras if possible. If your car is broken into, check with store security for any surveillance footage.

7. Don’t forget to place a call to Crime Check.

It’s difficult to recover stolen packages, but your information could help your neighbors. Reported crimes are added to a crime map and police officers use it to plan patrols. Also, should your packages be recovered, it makes reuniting you with them a lot easier