(WSPA) – With the holiday season often comes a spike in crime, particularly theft. Here are some practical steps you can take to stay safe.

According to several reports from the National Crime Victimization Survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, robbery and personal larceny increase by roughly 20% in the month of December each year.

And as more Americans order products for delivery so-called “porch pirates” have become a bigger problem in recent years. A comprehensive study conducted by Security.org found that 49 million people had their packages stolen in the U.S. from November 2021 to November 2022 alone. As it turns out, some simple steps can go a long way to preventing these crimes.

Porch-pirate prevention tips:

  • Have packages delivered to your workplace.
  • Have cameras installed, especially at your home entrances.
  • Use lockers or a P.O. box.
  • Require a signature on delivery and/or leave specific drop-off instructions
  • Utilize smart locks.
  • Insure your packages.
  • Visit the National Neighborhood Watch website for more tips.

If you are the victim of a stolen package, here are some links on how to file a claim with the respective delivery services:

United States Postal Service

FedEx

Amazon

UPS

The Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office also posted the following safety tips:

  • Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. You will be ready to unlock the door and will not be delayed by fumbling and looking for your keys.
  • Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse under your arm. Keep a wallet in an inside jacket pocket, not a back trouser pocket.
  • Carry only the credit cards you need and avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Don’t openly display your tree and gifts in the front window so they are easily visible from the street.
  • The day after opening presents, don’t pile up empty gift boxes on the street for the garbage man. Break the boxes down or cut them up to conceal the items better.
  • Last but not least as hard as it may be please, please, please don’t resist if someone tries to take any of your belongings. Don’t chase someone who robs you, they may have a weapon. Instead, call 911.

Some other general tips for theft prevention include:

  • Don’t hide spare keys under doormats, plants, or in the mailbox.
  • Mail important cards, checks, etc. via the post office and not from your mailbox.
  • To protect yourself from cyber crimes and scams, always research the website that’s advertising a product before you make a purchase.