MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Nothing is more stressful than getting a notification that your package has arrived, only to find it’s been swiped from your doorstep. This is especially hard if it’s a loved one’s gift that you’ve been waiting weeks for. 

Shipping delays haven’t made things easier. Problems within the national supply chains have left a backlog of container ships, making it hard to get one item before Christmas, let alone reordering another one before a big holiday.  

So what can you do to prevent this from happening to you?

Local law enforcement have provided possible solutions to prevent “porch pirates” from stealing your packages. 

Have your packages delivered to other places, instead of your home

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office (ESCO) in Alabama advises residents to send your packages to a local post office, where they can be held for pickup. Although it might take extra time out of your day, it lowers the risk of having your package stolen. You can also send the package to a friend or relative who will be home to keep an eye out for the package, according to a Facebook post from the ESCO.

The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office (SRCSO) suggests shoppers use the “ship to store” option, which can be held for pickup. Most stores also allow you to schedule your order, so you can decide when you want to pick up your package.

Unfortunately, some stores and websites only ship items via delivery, and if you have to deliver your package to your home, there are other ways you can protect your package.

Make it harder to find your packages — and easier for criminals to get caught

The SRCSO suggests that residents can request a signature confirmation. When you ask for a signature confirmation, the carrier can’t deliver the package until the signature has been signed by the resident. In most cases, the carrier comes back at another time to deliver the package.

Both law enforcement agencies urge residents to include delivery instructions for the carrier. Some websites offer a delivery instruction section so residents can leave specific instructions on where they want their package to be placed. Carriers can place the package on the side of the house or in an area out of sight, reducing the possibility of it getting stolen from your front door.

The ESCO recommends installing security cameras so you can see whose at your front door. Although it’s more expensive option, video can be used to see when your package was delivered, and if stolen, who took it off your porch.

What to do if your package is stolen?

Talk to your neighbors and notify local law enforcement. Chances are, you weren’t the only person targeted by “porch pirates.”

Contact the website where you ordered your package. Depending on the company’s customer service policies, they may be able to give your a refund or resend another package free of charge.