COLUMN: Tips to prevent theft of mailed packages

Submitted photo.
Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown.

We're getting to that time of year when people increase their shopping with the holidays coming up. More and more, people are making their purchases online, and we'd like to offer you some tips to ensure all of your packages get to you.

Every year we get reports of packages that'll show they were delivered, but the packages weren't on the porch or by the door when the owners got home. One way to prevent this happening is to use online tracking so you know when your package is being dropped off and you can make sure you're there to receive it. Another way is to require a signature when it's dropped off. If you're not there to answer the door, the delivery driver won't leave the package and you can make arrangements to get it another time.

If you can't always be at your house, schedule your package's delivery for when you will be there. Other options include having the items delivered to where you work or letting the driver know they can drop them off with a trusted neighbor who'll be at home. If you live in an apartment complex, have your packages delivered to the office where someone can sign for them. You can also let the post office know to hold your packages for you to pick up there.

If you've got a security system and cameras, now's a good time to ensure they're working in case it turns out you need that video. Whether you're shopping at the stores or online, be sure and keep copies of all of your credit and debit card receipts, bills and statements. Look them over carefully to make sure you don't have some bogus charges slip in there among all of the other activity.

Be a good neighbor and get to know your neighbors. Especially this time of year, we need to look out for one another and report it when we see odd things going on, like vehicles that are following delivery trucks around or strangers at your neighbor's house when you know they're not at home.

A good saying to remember is, "If you see something, say something," so if you see something that doesn't look right, call 9-1-1 if it's an emergency or call our non-emergency dispatch number at 972-937-6060.

Remember, your Sheriff's Office's Crime Prevention Division can help you form a Neighborhood Crime Watch. You can contact our Crime Prevention Deputies at 972-937-6060. As part of our crime prevention efforts, we release information such as the areas where burglaries are being committed and scam alerts on our Ellis County Sheriff's Office Facebook page. We invite you to "like" our page and also check out our website at www.elliscountysheriff.com for additional information about your Sheriff's Office.

Please, everyone, let's keep our military and service personnel in our thoughts and prayers. We enjoy our rights and freedoms because of their service and safekeeping of our great nation. Y'all have a Blessed Week.

Johnny Brown has served as Sheriff of Ellis County since Jan. 1, 2009, and is a graduate of the National Sheriff's Institute. He has been in law enforcement for more than 20 years and holds a Master's Peace Officer's Certificate with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education.