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It's the season to be jolly - and it's also a prime time for would-be thieves to break into action.

Package deliveries are on the uptick this time of year and the Fruita Police Department wants to make sure everyone in the Fruita community gets what they have coming to them. They've introduced a new program for the month of December called Operation Porch Pirate.

Maybe my memory is clouded -and that is certainly possible -- but, it seems like I remember a time when delivery drivers did not leave a package on your doorstep when you weren't home. They would leave it with a neighbor or leave a slip of paper notifying you they have a package for you. Those days apparently are long gone.

Nowadays, if nobody's home on delivery day, the package gets left on the front porch and you just hope you can get to it before someone else does. I would say this works out for the best most of the time, but it's far from a sure thing. The more packages you have left outside your front door, the greater the chances that, eventually, at least one of them is going to disappear before you get to it.

Operation Porch Pirate is aimed at stopping this type of theft that can be prevalent especially during the holiday season. If you are expecting a package and you can't be home during the day when it's delivered, you can have it sent to the Fruita Police Department and they will hold on to it until you can pick it up. All you need is a valid ID that matches the name on the package.

Of course, in introducing the program, the Fruita Police Department is quick to encourage folks to shop locally as much as possible, which is another great way to cut down on theft opportunities. Obviously, there are times when the only option is to make a purchase online, but, we would echo their sentiments - whenever possible, please support our local merchants - whether you live in Fruita, Grand Junction, Palisade, or somewhere in between.

Something else I might throw in here as a suggestion, and that is to be on the lookout for your neighbors. If you notice they have a package waiting for them on the porch, you might try to put it in a less conspicuous location or in a place where it's not going to be an easy target for low-life thieves. Additionally, be on the alert for suspicious vehicles and activity in your neighborhood. If you see someone pull up to a neighbor's house and you know they aren't home, pay attention to what's going on outside and make sure nobody's trying to make off with someone else's Christmas presents.

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