KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — This may come as no surprise, but nearly six out of 10 respondents to a new survey say they will do all or most of their shopping online this holiday season. This means lots of packages will be delivered to doorsteps and porches and not far behind will be an army of would-be pirates eyeing front porches.

There are a few common sense measures that you can take to cut out some of the opportunistic thefts. The FedEx “Delivery Manager app,” and others like it, keep tabs on your packages. Devices like video doorbell cameras also provide a deterrent, and the pictures can help investigators if your package is stolen, but the camera doesn’t stop the thieves.

The thieves are bold and daylight is no issue. They also work fast. They’re on your porch and gone before you know it. Numbers from a new survey show that 24% of Americans said they have had a delivered package stolen from their porch or doorstep. Homes in urban and suburban areas often report more theft than more rural communities. In Knoxville alone, tens of thousands of packages are delivered daily and that’s not counting the holiday season.

“The average is 52,000 to 62,000 packages a day in Knoxville delivered,” said Wendy Boles, US Postal Inspector.

She said to use common sense to protect your packages from being stolen.

“Try to track your package. Know when the estimated delivery time will be,” said Boles.

The latest survey shows 59% of respondents this year will do most of their holiday shopping will be done through online delivery, which is up from 40% of respondents in 2021. Unsurprisingly, 70 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds plan to do most of their shopping online and pirates are on the lookout.

“If you receive a lot of packages, they know you. They don’t want your packages stolen. There are several things you can do to hide packages from the street. These porch pirates, they drive through neighborhoods and they’re looking at porches. You can put a planter, furniture, or cardboard up on a railing of your porch. The carrier will gladly put it behind that,” said Boles.

Part of the temptation for package thieves is the endless possibilities wrapped up in that little box. The thief doesn’t know what’s in there. It could be a worthless trinket something valued at thousands of dollars.

“It’s a crime of opportunity. It is no different than leaving your wallet or your purse or cell phone in a vehicle. If it’s viewable from the outside, it is at risk. A package on your porch left for a long period of time is at risk,” said Boles.

If the worst happens, and a pirate strikes, or you can’t find the package, look around carefully to ensure the delivery driver didn’t just pick an especially clever hiding spot. If it was stolen, the next move is to contact the company that sold you the item.

Unfortunately, if the package had “proof” of successful delivery to your door, the seller and the shipper have both done their duty, even if it was stolen. That doesn’t mean hope is lost. Some sellers will go ahead and send a replacement, even though they “Don’t have to” as a way of promoting good public relations. More importantly, if you do have a package stolen file a police report.