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More online shopping expected this year, tips to avoid porch pirates

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Posted at 5:33 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 19:37:59-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Holiday shopping season is kicking into high gear, and with the COVID-19 pandemic worsening, more people are expected to do their shopping online rather than in-person.

With more shoppers expected to buy online, the United States Postal Service says they're more than prepared to handle the increased demand.

"We're doing a few things to make it easier for people as far as we have some Sunday hours. Two stations in Colorado Springs will be open on Sunday from 10 to 2. That'll be this station here, the General Mail Facility, and Briargate on the north side of town," said JoLea Quintana, Colorado Springs Postmaster. "That will help alleviate the holiday congestion."

USPS has also hired additional workers to meet operational needs and expanded delivery times which means carriers will deliver packages in the early morning and on Sundays. With the expected demand, they're also encouraging everyone to mail Christmas gifts early.

"As early as possible, we do have some cut-off dates but we always say the earlier the better," said Quintana.

To ensure packages are delivered safely, they're encouraging the use of their free website/app informeddelivery.com. Customers can sign up to see what packages are en route and to receive daily emails showing what mail will be delivered.

"Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express come with free tracking so if you take advantage of that service you'll be able to track your package from the time it leaves to the time it gets there," said Quintana.

USPS also encourages mail or packages to not be left unattended for any length of time. Customers who are going out of town should plan ahead and take advantage of hold mail service. Letters and packages will be held securely at the local post office until they return. There is also hold for pickup which customers can choose when shipping a package. Customers can also utilize USPS special services like signature confirmation and registered mail.

To avoid any shipping glitches, the postal service says it's important to select a durable box. Reusing boxes are not a good idea since they weaken in the shipping process. Also, be sure to properly address packages and print clearly. It's also recommended that a card be placed inside the package with delivery and return addresses.

The Colorado Springs Police Department says this year they've seen a slight decrease in property crimes compared to last year and don't expect it to rise with more packages getting delivered to homes. However, with more online shopping, there is the potential for a rise in porch pirate crimes so they're urging everyone to become educated on how to prevent these crimes.

"The utilization of the USPS informed delivery program which would help you track the mail coming to your address as well as packages. Also, utilize secure locker services such as Amazon Prime and lockers or signature delivery at your local FedEx or USPS store," said Welsey Wilkerson, Crime Prevention Officer for the Gold Hill Division of the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Wilkerson encourages those who aren't going to be home to inform a neighbor and they can pick up the package or utilize Ring Doorbell services to see when the package does arrive.

If packages are stolen from your home, make a report through their non-emergency number 719-444-7000.