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Protect yourself from porch pirates this holiday with these tips

With holiday shopping in full swing, here's how to make sure your gifts don't end up in the wrong hands.

WASHINGTON — The official start of the holiday shopping season has begun. That means many families will be buying gifts online and more packages will be arriving on doorsteps. 

Package thefts are a real concern over the holidays, and DC Police are on a mission to make sure your gifts don't fall into the wrong hands. Inspector Sylvan Altieri and Commander Darnel Robinson offered some tips.

Commander Robinson said track your packages so you know when they will be arriving at your door, and make plans with neighbors to pick up packages if you won't be home when they arrive.

"Have your packages sent somewhere like a friend's house. Know when your package is going to arrive or use one of the Amazon lockers," Inspector Altieri said. 

Altieri said D.C. Police are part of a pilot program with Amazon to put lockers at Sixth District police stations.

"We're the first law enforcement agency ever to do that. We have lockers at the Sixth District on Hays Street and Pennsylvania and 27th Street so people can pick their packages up 24/7," Altieri said. 

Altieri said another helpful thing to set up is a home surveillance camera. D.C. currently has a rebate program for home security cameras. More info can be found here. Robinson said security video can help immensely when it comes to investigating package thefts. 

If you're making a purchase through an online platform such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, Altieri and Robinson reminds people to always meet in a public place. MPD offers Safe Exchange Zones to make sure you stay safe.

"There's nowhere safer than a police station," Altieri said.

As the holidays approach, police are also asking people to be mindful of what they leave in their cars. Remember to not leave valuables visible in your car and stay vigilante.  

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