BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–Erie County District Attorney John Flynn reminds the community about the dangers of leaving packages unattended after delivery.

Flynn urges residents to be extra vigilant as incidents of stolen packages tend to increase around the holidays as people choose to shop from home this season because of the pandemic.

“This can be difficult to prosecute because the thieves act quickly, leaving us with no witnesses or other evidence to connect these individuals to the crime. I encourage residents to be proactive to prevent their packages from being stolen and to consider purchasing a home security camera to catch these thieves in action,” the district attorney said.

He is offering these tips to prevent your packages from being stolen:

  • Be home during the delivery window and bring packages inside immediately after arrival.
  • If you are unable to be home during the delivery time, ask a neighbor to accept and hold the package until you return.
  • Leave a note on your door requesting that packages be left inside a front door or another location on your property that will be out of sight from the sidewalk. If a person cannot see the package at your doorstep, it is less likely to be stolen.
  • Opt for curbside pick-up instead of delivery when possible.
  • Purchase a doorbell camera to monitor when your packages arrive. Video evidence of a porch thief can also be provided to law enforcement to assist in their investigation.

The DA’s Office says it will prosecute someone caught stealing packages or other property that does not belong to them. Potential charges include grand larceny, petit larceny, and criminal possession of stolen property.

According to Flynn’s office, the Buffalo Police Department is reporting a 54.9% increase in residential package thefts this year (231 reported in 2019, 358 reported this year.)