by: Jeff Smith Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte police are stepping up patrols and issuing a stern warning to homeowners doing online shopping for the holidays.
Police said this week is one of the busiest of the year for package deliveries. It's one week after Cyber Monday, so plenty of packages are starting to arrive at homes across Charlotte.
Officers are warning homeowners to be careful, since there are thieves who will look for packages on front porches to steal.
Police know of at least three packages that were stolen in South Charlotte last week. Police reports indicate several toys and even a TV were stolen front people's front doorsteps.
South Charlotte police have been stepping up patrols near the Mountainbrook neighborhood in South Charlotte, doing more drive-throughs to try to catch the crooks.
"The thieves are out and they're busy. They're watching your packages and your houses," said Officer Veronica Bynoe, with CMPD's Crime Prevention Unit.
On Monday night, Eyewitness News saw several packages sitting on doorsteps in various south Charlotte neighborhoods.
"Crooks, I think, they just case the neighborhoods and look," said homeowner Billy Nauman, who lives in the Mountainbrook neighborhood. "Probably every other house is getting a package between now and Christmas."
That's exactly how police think this seasonal crime happens. Bynoe said it's important for homeowners expecting packages this week to ask for signed confirmation, so deliveries aren't left unattended at the front door.
If that's not possible, she suggests having a trusted neighbor grab the package for you.
"Also, because of daylight savings hours, it's getting darker sooner, and it'd be a good idea to leave your outside light on as well," Officer Bynoe added.
Police are now e-mailing these tips through their monthly newsletters to residents, and also through Twitter.
Nauman said he'll be extra careful when ordering his presents online.
"It's just awful that it happens this early in the season, people in broad daylight taking packages," he said.
If you're going out of town and are nervous about burglaries, CMPD said homeowners can request an increased patrol as part of something called a "Zone Check."