SHERWOOD, Ark. – We are approaching the busiest shopping time of the year.  Many people will brave the elements and the crowds to get the best deals, but others will do so from the comfort of their couch as they will shop online this holiday season.

Officer Richard McNeil with the Sherwood Police Department says online shopping is a gift and a curse.

“We’re able to get those packages a lot quicker, right to our house instead of having to out and shop for them, but that also opens up the opportunity for those people who are opportunists,” Officer McNeil explained.

He is referring to porch pirates who steal packages from the doorsteps of homes.  He says they will be on the prowl and people should be aware and take precautions.

Officer McNeil said Amazon has several different secure options to choose from.  The Department has recommended using Amazon Hubs, which are lockers that can be unlocked with specific codes to ensure safe delivery of packages.

But if and order is not from Amazon he suggests third-party lockers, making deliveries to the office, and he strongly encourages the use of cameras.

Officer McNeil says it is hard to track down and prosecute porch pirates especially without cameras.

“If you don’t have a camera there’s no way we can track.  Sometimes we’re able to get a license plate or a direction of travel or a description if nothing else,” Officer McNeil explained.

John May lives in Sherwood and him and his wife just find shopping online to be more convenient for them.

“No telling where we’ll get a box from tomorrow, there’s no telling where my wife is shopping from today,” May said jokingly.

May said he has cameras in the front and rear of his home and also a Ring doorbell.

He said another layer of peace of mind for them is the relationship they have with their neighbors.

“A lot of times the package is there and my neighbor will call me and say ‘do you mind moving a package for me?’ or I’ll call him and say ‘do you mind moving a package for me?’, you know put it in the garage or whatever, so we take care of each other,” May said.

May said porch pirates have not been an issue in his neighborhood and hopes between the cameras on his and others’ houses and the ever-watchful eyes of everyone it will stay that way.

“We’ve all heard the story of the porch pirates following behind the UPS trucks and Amazon trucks and we want to be safe and make sure the money we spend on presents we end up getting,” May exclaimed.

According to Officer McNeil many porch pirate cases do not have a trend or a pattern and it truly is a crime of opportunity so any precautions taken will keep packages from getting poached off of porches.