Local News

Crime Stoppers talks outsmarting the Grinch this holiday season

Story by: Kayla Kreutzberg

Photo by: Pxhere

It’s exactly two weeks until Christmas day, which may mean that people still have packages being delivered to their homes. However, that also means that those pesky porch pirates are on the prowl.

What’s a porch pirate? It’s someone that steals packages off your front doorstep or porch, especially during the holiday season.

Sarah Bowers-Peter, program coordinator for Crime Stoppers Guelph Wellington said one of the best ways to deter a porch pirate is making sure your packages are not being delivered to a visible spot.

“If there’s an area you can have it delivered to, a side door, or some people have containers, or some kind of distraction that you can’t see it so easily from the street, that’s a big help,” Bowers-Peter said.

Bowers-Peter said you can also shop local and avoid having a packaged delivered to your home, and pick-it up yourself curbside, or have your parcel delivered to your work, or a family member or friends’ home.

Another tip to keep in mind this holiday season is to definitely not do what Kevin McCallister’s father does in the movie, Home Alone.

Remember when he tells the criminal dressed up as a fake cop that he’s taking his whole family to Florida for the holidays?

Bowers-Peter said you definitely don’t want to post that your home won’t be attended for a certain period of time, because that sends a message out to the criminal that they have an opportunity.

“And most people don’t have security settings nearly high enough on their social media platforms, so even though they think they’re just sharing that information with friends and family, it’s actually being shared more broadly, and people that you don’t know are aware of your schedule,” Bowers-Peter said.

She said this goes hand in glove with not posting photos of your expensive Christmas gifts online, that way you’re not advertising that they are in your home.

The holiday season is also a good time to bond with your neighbours to make sure the Grinch doesn’t pay your neighbourhood a visit.

Bowers-Peter said the organization is very much about community investment, and looking out for one another.

“When we talk about, you know, a neighbourhood making sure that all homes are looking lived in and maintained, so that there’s not a house on the street that looks unattended or appealing to a criminal.”

She said by everyone looking out for one another’s property, it’s easy to detect an individual they don’t recognize, which in turn, may prevent a crime from happening.