While you're away at the malls doing some shopping for the holidays, bear in mind that thieves are, too.
Drive around Dunwoody neighborhoods and you'll see some amazing displays of holiday decorations.
But having those Christmas trees and scores of gifts tucked underneath in full public view 24-7 is not a good idea.
"If I can see it, so can the criminals," said Atlanta Police Department Lt. Marshall Roberson, who spoke Wednesday at the November meeting of Neighborhood Planning Unit-W.
"You've got to think about this stuff. Use a little common sense; don't have everything visible to the street from your window."
His comments come as the holiday season creates more shoplifting and possible more burglaries in some neighborhoods.
He reminded people at the meeting that with the holiday season now here, folks will be receiving lots of packages. Those are tempting to thieves, too, and recipients should take extra steps to ensure secure deliveries.
Indeed, he noted that in some instances, burglars trail delivery trucks and then snatch packages left on porches or by front doors.
The home warnings come as an extension of the Clean Car advisories that APD has issued on the danger of leaving valuables in motor vehicles.
Just like your house, if crooks can see what you have and those items are things that they know they can steal and sell quickly for quick cash — think GPS devices, laptops, tablets smart phones — they will break into your vehicle and steal.
Dunwoody Patch reached out to UPS, FedEx and the United States Postal Service about package security. Here is what they advise:
- The company expects to ship 280 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas, including 19 million alone — the single-largest volume day in company history — on Dec. 10.
- If you know you won't be home to receive the package and have the tracking number, you can call 800-GO-FEDEX or go to fedex.com and have the package rerouted to your office, or trusted neighbor, company spokesman Chris Stanley said. Recipients also may choose to have it shipped to a FedEx outlet and held there for you to pick up directly.
- The company projects it will ship more than 500 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with the busiest volume day being Dec. 20 with 28 million deliveries.
- The company launched its UPS My Choice service last year, which allows customers to get text alerts about their packages and where they are in the delivery chain, have them held at a UPS location for customer pick-up or reschedule another delivery date, spokeswoman Laurie Mallis said. The service also gives more defined delivery times within a four-hour window if the customer is signed up for the free service, and a two-hour time frame if a premium member, which costs $40.
- Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the U.S. Post Office will ship 560 million pieces of mail daily, hitting a peak of 658 million pieces on Dec. 17.
- Packages sent standard mail will be left at the address, USPS spokesman Michael Miles said. Packages that require a signature will not be left and the recipient will be given the option of rescheduling the delivery or picking it up from the local post office. If you know you're going to be away for any length of time, it's a good idea to have your mail held and you can pick it up when you return or have it sent to you when you resume normal mail delivery.
In some cases, homeowners will leave notes in their doors about leaving a package with a neighor or to hide it somewhere.
All three companies say they will honor take such requests into consideration, but it's at the driver's discretion after he or she makes a determination about the security of the package.
The best thing to do, they advise, is to make alternative delivery arrangements beforehand as outlined above.