It's the most wonderful time of the year -- until your package gets stolen from your doorstep.
With more than 75 package thefts reported in just one section of Capitol Hill at the beginning of this year, UPS says parts of the District are the worst in the region for package thefts.
Want to avoid these "crimes of opportunity"? Here are a few tips to keep your packages safe during the holidays:
1. Ask for a tracking number to know when your package is delivered. Track your packages and try to be home at the time of delivery, the Alexandria Police Department suggests. When you're placing an order, try to schedule shipment for a day you expect to be home, if possible.
2. Not sure if you'll be available for your tracked package's delivery? FedEx and United States Postal Service (USPS) suggest scheduling your delivery beforehand to set a time you know you'll be home.
3. FedEx also suggests requesting a signature for delivery. This will ensure the package won't be left at your door without you there to sign and bring it safely inside.
4. Want your package placed at the back door or behind a porch plant instead? Leave a note specifying what less conspicuous spot you would like it left. The FedEx Delivery Manager lets you leave delivery instructions on where you want your deliveries to be dropped off.
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5. Have your packages delivered somewhere else. If you know you won't be home when your package will be delivered, FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS) tell you to opt for delivering it to a neighbor who is home or to your workplace, if allowed.
6. Another option is to deliver your packages to a retail store or locker, where they'll stay safe until you can pick them up at your convenience. Many retailers will let you place online orders and then pick up your items in the store. You can also look into the Amazon Locker service, which delivers Amazon orders to a "locker" in your area; you're provided a pickup code that will unlock the door for you. And the U.S. Postal Service suggests taking advantage of their Request Hold Mail service, which securely holds letters and packages at your local post office until you're back in town. FedEx and UPS also have similar location delivery services.
7. UPS suggests signing up for a service called "UPS My Choice," which allows users to request their packages to be held at a UPS store for pick-up and more. You can control the service through text or email; it includes features such as delivery notices and the option to re-route your packages to a different address if you won't be home. You can also re-route your packages using the FedEx Delivery Manager.