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Tampa Bay loves our pirates, but not on our porches. How to avoid thieves this season.

If you are buying holiday gifts online, these are the tips and tricks you need to know to keep porch pirates from spoiling the most wonderful time of the year.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay residents love their pirates, just not on their porches. This is their busy season, and with the approximately $9.4 billion Americans spent shopping online for Cyber Monday and Black Friday, there is plenty for those pirates to plunder.

It's estimated that 26.1 million Americans have had a holiday package stolen from their home.

So how do you avoid being included in that group?

If your office allows it, you can have your holiday gifts delivered there! This might mean having to carry heavy boxes to your car, but you are more likely to have someone there when your package is dropped off.

If you’re shopping on Amazon, you can opt to have your gifts delivered to a secure locker. UPS and FedEx also give you the option to have your package delivered to a secure location, like one of their stores or a local business that has signed up as a partner. USPS gives customers the option to hold packages for pick-up.

Some stores will also give you the option to pick up your merchandise in-store. This completely eliminates the possibility that your package is either lost or stolen. 

If you still prefer the convenience of having your packages delivered to your home, you could invest in a home camera security system. The technology could dissuade pirates from choosing your porch, but even when it doesn't, at least you have video.

There are also slightly pricier options like Amazon Key. The technology was rolled out in late 2017 and allows drivers to deliver your package in your home by giving them access through a smart-lock. There are also delivery boxes that can be installed just outside your home. 

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