New techniques to help avoid 'porch pirates' during the holidays

Shipping companies expect record numbers this year

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Shipping companies expect another record setting holiday season, which gives would be thieves ample chances to steal packages off of porches.

This year, FedEx expects to ship 400 million packages during the holiday season. UPS says they'll deliver 750 million. The U.S. Postal Service estimates 850 million packages and 15 billion pieces of mail altogether, and Amazon says in 2016 they sent more than a billion items world wide through Prime.

But this year, more companies have ways for you to protect your deliveries.

Ring doorbells are becoming popular. They have motion-sensing cameras that connect to your smartphone, alerting users to see anyone that comes to the door. Their Facebook page is full of videos where owners scared off would-be thieves with an alarm or by shouting through a connected microphone.

The company is also encouraging people to download their app. Even if you don't have a Ring Doorbell, the app will send you alerts any time suspicious activity is reported in your neighborhood.

Also new this holiday season is the Amazon Key, an option introduced this fall. For about $250, you can buy a starter kit that includes a camera and a special door lock. Delivery drivers would be able to put packages inside your home.

Amazon also has lockers all around San Diego that packages can be sent to. You get a code to open them to pick up your package.Meanwhile, the US Postal Service says people who are worried about theft can ship packages using the "Hold for Pickup" option. Packages are kept at the post office to be picked up. You can also require a signature for delivery, or re-route a package to a different address while it's being delivered. They have more tips on how to protect holiday gifts here.

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