Outsmart package thieves this holiday season

CHICAGO (WLS) -- New tools could help prevent front porch thefts of packages during the holiday season.

Twenty-three million Americans have had packages stolen, according to a new report by Princeton Survey Research Association. Just this week, police in southwest suburban Riverside issued an alert about package thefts. How can you outsmart the thieves?

New apps, new stores and new access points can help you get your package when it's convenient for you.

Last year, Jennifer Dicresce had gifts stolen from her Roscoe Village porch. She shared that video with the ABC7 I-Team.

"It happened once. It happened twice, where someone was coming up to my front gate and the packages were getting stolen," Dicresce said.

This year, gift snatchers struck at her doorstep in West Town. She turned to Shurpa, a relatively new business in Lincoln Park that receives packages at the store and then delivers them to you when it's convenient. There is a fee.

"You actually get a text message and it shows you the package. So the day it arrives, I get a text form Shurpa, it shows me the package and then there is delivery that same evening," Dicresce said.

You can also pick up the package at the store. Shurpa said it gives customers up to $1,000 in extra insurance coverage.

"Many people come to us because they have had a package theft issue. They have had a package stolen. They are looking for a secure solution," Ben Fornell, Shurpa, said.

An app called Doorman is also available in Chicago. There are some free options, too, such as the Amazon lock boxes popping up at area 7-Elevens and other stores. You can also get your packages delivered directly to FedEx or UPS stores.

UPS also just launched another, new free service: UPS Access Point. Customers can pick up packages at 8,000 locations nationwide.

"It is really convenient that I can personally pick it up and not risk anyone stealing it," Allison Poteet said.

Daffodils flower shop in Bucktown is one of those locations.

"We're making the store available that is right in your area. It's easy for you to go to, and your package is waiting there for you, safe and sound. You have to show your ID to come pick it up," Andrea Cervini, UPS, said.

Residents who choose to get packages delivered directly to your doorstep should track packages with email and text alerts and request signatures upon delivery.

UPS said its busiest shipping day is December 22 when the company will handle more than 36 million packages, which is about 417 of them per second.

Package pick-up and delivery services

Amazon Locker: http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=6442600011
Doorman: http://www.doorman.co/
Shurpa: http://www.shurpadelivery.com/
Fedex: Hold at Fedex Location: http://www.fedex.com/us/office/hold-at-location.html
UPS My Choice: https://www.ups.com/mychoice/features/
USPS Hold for Pickup: https://www.usps.com/ship/insurance-extra-services.htm
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