MADISON, Wis. -

Fitchburg police are warning area residents to be vigilant in preventing package thefts in neighborhoods as online holiday shopping ramps up.

“While the vast majority of these packages will be delivered without a problem, the unfortunate reality is that some will be stolen,” officials said in a release. “Package theft continues to be an issue but there are some steps you can take to help make sure you receive your deliveries.”

  • One of the easiest ways you can ensure a stress-free delivery is to sign up for your delivery service's online delivery manager.

    These services notify you when a shipment is scheduled to arrive at your address and when a shipment has been delivered. Some offer options so you can customize delivery times and where packages are left. In some instances, you can even divert a shipment to a different location if you're going to be out of town. If you're expecting a particularly expensive item, you may wish to have it delivered to a service center for pick up.

    FedEx: http://www.fedex.com/us/delivery/
    UPS: https://www.ups.com/mychoice/
    USPS: http://myusps.com/

  • Have packages delivered to your workplace or to a friend, family member or neighbor who is more likely to be home.
  • Utilize technology such as security cameras or doorbell cameras to alert you of motion at your front door. The cost of these technologies has declined significantly and many of the available options do not require wiring or significant installation. Some doorbell cameras also serve as a two-way intercom.
  • Create a "hidden" space for package deliveries such as a box or basket on your porch. Speak to your delivery driver and ask them to leave packages at a different, less visible location at your house.
  • Inform a neighbor of your expected delivery and ask them to pick it up or move it for you.
  • Leave a porch light on or use a motion-detecting light near your front door.

If your delivery is missing/stolen:

  • Contact the delivery service and/or the merchant. Confirm the shipping status of the item.
  • File a claim with the delivery service.
  • Notify the merchant. Many online retailers will replace lost or stolen items.
  • Call us to file a report. Reports of these types of thefts are important to identify patterns and hopefully catch suspects.

Officials are also asking everyone to report suspicious activity immediately.