PISCATAWAY, NJ - The Christmas Holidays is usually a time when police departments see an increase in theft of packages from residences shortly after being delivered by UPS, FedEx and USPS.

The majority of these packages are delivered straight to the customer’s door, even if no one is home to accept them. Unfortunately, this brings out individuals who are looking for a crime of opportunity, as well as criminals that actually target delivery trucks in neighborhoods. Thieves sometimes follow or watch for delivery trucks and then target a home after a delivery is made.

To reduce the chances of being victimized by package delivery thieves, the Piscataway Police Department offers the following advice:

Sign Up for E-News

-       Choose a shipping option that requires you to sign for delivery.

-       Check delivery status online so you can try to be home when the package arrives. Some retailers and delivery companies even offer text messages to your cell phone to alert you when items have been delivered.

-       Have a trusted neighbor take in the package for you.

-       If you reside in an apartment complex or a planned residential neighborhood, ask your management if your package can be delivered to the manager’s office.

-       Arrange to have the package shipped to another location where someone can receive it. This could be your workplace, a friend or relative’s home, or even the local "mailbox" business that may agree to accept shipment of your item for a fee.

-       Ask the delivery service to hold your package for customer pick-up at their local shipping facility or select an “in-store pick up" option.

-       If you do not receive your shipment on time, check with the company of origin and confirm the delivery. If the item was delivered and you did not receive it, report the theft or loss to the original company, the shipping company, and your local police department.

-       Many of these crimes occur during broad daylight. As always, be alert about suspicious behavior in your neighborhood, especially if you see a delivery truck making the rounds and a vehicle following behind or unfamiliar subjects on foot approaching a home that has a package visible in the front. Be prepared to call the police to report this type of suspicious activity or call 9-1-1 if you observe a crime in progress.

Get as much descriptive information as you can about the type of vehicle, color, make/model, license plate info, and if you can, provide descriptive information about the person or persons in the vehicle such as age, hair color, clothing description & color, as well as distinguishing features including facial hair, tattoos, height, or anything else you think may help the officers catch them.

And please do not put yourself in any danger.

Your calls can have an impact on crime and criminals. Please continue to be a partner in preventing crime.