A branch of Crime Stoppers in Ontario is warning online shoppers to watch out for so-called “porch pirates” who steal packages from outside people’s front doors.

Amanda Allen from Crime Stoppers Windsor and Essex County says that shoppers need to have a plan for what happens in case a package is dropped off when they are not at home.

For example, Allen once arranged for a retired neighbour to pick up one of her packages while she was at work, so that it wasn’t sitting on her porch tempting would-be thieves.

“The fact is, a lot of times it’s a crime of opportunity,” Allen told CTV Windsor.

Another way to deter theft -- or to at least help police catch package pilferers -- is with security cameras.

Allen says that people who choose that option need to make sure they have good lighting both day and night.

“Make sure it does produce a clear photo,” she said. “A picture of the top of somebody’s head really doesn’t help.”

Another way to avoid package theft is to have them delivered to a free storage service like PenguinPickUp instead of your home.

With more than 70 locations in Canada, PenguinPickUp guards packages from companies like Walmart and FedEx until they can be picked up.

Amazon, one of the world’s biggest online retailers, also offers customers the option of picking up their parcels at Canada Post locations, or having them delivered to lockers in the Vancouver and Toronto areas.

While not available in Canada, Amazon offers U.S. shoppers a special door lock that allows Amazon employees to deposit packages just inside customers’ doors.