Police warn of porch pirating and how easy it can happen to you

PARIS, Tex. (KXII) - More and more people are doing their holiday shopping online and that means packages shipped to your front door - something burglars are becoming more aware of. Our own Michael Deere got a firsthand look Tuesday in a ride-along with Paris Police and shows us how you can prevent porch pirating.

Porch pirating.

It's a new term law enforcement is using to label the act of criminals stealing packages from your front door area.

It happens everywhere but we wanted to see just how many packages we could find while riding around with police in only one Paris neighborhood - and the results were shocking.

It only took about five minutes and the first house we found had three packages.

Then just up the street, it was one after another.

Finally, someone was home and had no idea a package was even delivered. A lesson Ryanna English will pass on to her family and neighbors.

"Be more aware I guess and be watching for my things that are supposed to be coming in," English said..

Officer Curtis Graham says a good neighbor is a good start.

"So if you as a neighbor could let your neighbors know, post it on Facebook, let them know that people are out here to steal these things and if you can get them inside as quickly as possible," Officer Graham added.

As we drove around, more and more homes had packages waiting....only two people were home at the time.

Joan Moore was home but didn't know her husband had a package being delivered.

"I had a package that the post office said that they had delivered about a week ago. It was things for our new home. The package never got here or someone took it," Moore told News 12.

In all we found over a dozen packages on front porches in just this neighborhood.

But criminals won't stop there. They will prey on shoppers at places like the Paris Towne Center.

Rose Trammel had just bought some christmas gifts and officer Graham warned her about another holiday threat - purse snatchers.

"I think that's a good idea because I do carry my purse everywhere and I put it in a shopping cart and I look away, so I would be very vulnerable for that," Trammel exclaimed.

Paris Police offer these tips:

ALWAYS lock your car and residence, even if you are away for only a few moments.

Do NOT leave valuables - gifts, cell phones, purse or clothing - in open view in your car.

Take valuables with you, lock them in your trunk, or cover them in an unobtrusive way.

Leave lights turned on both inside and outside your residence after dark. Criminals don't like bright places.

If you will be away from home for several days, make arrangements for someone to pick up your mail and newspapers. An overstuffed mailbox is a sure sign that no one is home, and burglars are tempted to check those envelopes for holiday gifts.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't leave firearms in your car!!

Stay off the cell phone as you walk through parking lots and streets. It is a distraction that makes you vulnerable to robbers, and your cell phone itself is a tempting target.

Don't flash large amounts of cash or offer tempting targets for theft such as expensive jewelry or clothing.

Carry a purse or shoulder bag close to your body, not dangling by straps. Put a wallet in an inside pocket of your coat or front pants pocket.

Paris Police will also post a coupon code on their Facebook page for residents who wish to invest in a home security system called RING.

Police say if it doesn't feel right, call 911.