Ways to protect packages from 'porch pirates' this holiday season

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- In 2016, people spent $3.45 billion online on Cyber Monday, making it the biggest day in the country's history of e-commerce.

Even after spending all that money, some might not get their online order, because thieves see this time of year as a major opportunity.

Police in Green Bay, Wis. say many stolen packages are re-sold for cash. A recent study says about three quarters of porch thieves strike when people are at work.

"We see these types of thefts happen all year long, but in particular this time of year because there's a lot of holiday shopping taking place online. Especially today with Cyber Monday, there's going to be an extremely high number of shopping taking place, so that's why we want to get the word out this time of year," said Captain Brad Florence with the Green Bay Police Department.

The U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver 850 million packages this year, up 10 percent from 2016.

"When you hit, you know, towards the busiest time of the year, right? Right when we get close to the busiest delivery day, you're looking at about 30 million packages that'll be delivered in that day," said Sean Hargadon, U.S. Postal Service spokesman.

There are ways to get packages delivered safely. One way is to re-route package to the workplace or a local UPS store. If that's not an option, be sure a signature is required upon delivery. Another option, the USPS says, is using delivery instructions.

"Whether it's postal service or an online vendor, you can provide delivery instructions, so what you can do with that is you can actually have it delivered to a neighbor, someone who might be home that can actually take the package safely and securely. You could also talk to your local letter carrier and advise them where you want the package to go so that it's in a safe place, maybe not as visible," said Hargadon.

Capt. Brad Florence says stolen package cases are often not solved, so adding insurance on packages can help with peace of mind.

"Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot of solvability options that we have. A person is expecting a package to arrive, the package doesn't arrive, they make a theft report, and we pretty much are at a standstill," said Florence.

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