NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s the season of giving, but also taking.

Police say it is the busiest time of year for package thefts and following Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales they expect an increase. Online shoppers’ message is clear.

“Don’t take my package,” said New Haven resident Yazira Castro.

Yazira Castro is one of 24 million Americans reporting at least one package stolen in the past year. The porch pirates did not take anything cheap and now she tries to catch them in the act.

“A pair of beats headphones, they are actually really expensive, stolen right off the porch and we didn’t have a camera yet but we actually have a ring camera now, it’s charging, because all the packages that have been stolen, ” said Castro.

Castro recently bought even more cameras after having several boxes stolen this year. She told News 8 she is even changing the way she shops.

“We are not online shopping as much now we are actually going into the stores,” Castro says.

Switching to in-person shopping isn’t the only change consumers are making. They are also changing the way packages are delivered. Anthony Reese delivers packages for Amazon and had a special request in New Haven this afternoon.

“Usually ask me to either leave it in one of their secret boxes or bring it to the rear door a lot because people be taking packages off their front porch,” said Anthony Reese.

Milford Police told News 8 they received three reports of stolen packages this past month, two happening in the past couple of weeks.

Today they shared these tips to keep your treasure safe from porch pirates:
• Select a delivery date or time you know you will be home.
• Leave delivery instructions to conceal packages, not leaving them on the front porch.
• Deliver packages to a friend or family member who will be home.
• Deliver your package to your workplace if they allow it.
• Deliver packages to a P.O. Box.
• Or consider installing a door camera that may deter thieves from your home.

“This is definitely their season,” said Milford Police PFC Marilisa Anania. “Especially with covid the last few years, people buying stuff online and through Amazon has obviously increased but this time of year everybody is doing it.”

Thieves who nab packages face potential charges such as larceny and criminal trespassing, some levels of larceny even result in a felony.

“We’re always keeping an eye on it but now we’re even more conscious of it,” said Anania.

If your package has been stolen, report it to the sender. Amazon will often offer a refund. Also, file a police report.

If you see any suspicious activity call police.