(KTAL/KMSS) – The United States Postal Service is projecting between 850 and 950 million packages will be delivered this holiday season, and porch pirates are just as much a concern as ever.

Here are five tips the USPS recommends to customers for keeping holiday deliveries safe during the holiday season.

  1. Don’t leave delivered mail and packages unattended. Just as wallets and purses shouldn’t be left on the front seat of an unlocked car overnight, mail and packages shouldn’t be left uncollected in mailboxes or on front porches for any length of time.
  2. Going out of town? Hold mail at a local Post Office. Instead of risking leaving a package unattended for an extended period of time, customers planning on being away from home for a few days are encouraged to take advantage of Hold Mail service. Letters and packages will be held securely at the customer’s local Post Office location until they return.
  3. Plan ahead. Ship using Hold for Pickup. When shipping a package, customers can choose the Hold for Pickup option and recipients can collect the packages at their local Post Office locations. For customers receiving packages, they can redirect incoming packages to their local Post Office by selecting Hold for Pickup using USPS Package Intercept.
  4. Customize the delivery. If the package doesn’t fit in the mailbox and the customer won’t be home to receive it, the customer can provide delivery instructions online and authorize the carrier to leave it in a specified location. Visit usps.com, enter the tracking number and select “Delivery Instructions.”
  5. Secure the shipment using USPS Special Services. Signature Confirmation helps ensure the package ends up in the right hands by requiring a signature at the time of delivery. For the most valuable packages, customers can opt for Registered Mail service. Registered Mail receives special handling from the time it’s mailed until it’s delivered, documenting the chain of custody.

In addition to these tips, police suggest that if someone is not going to be home during the time of an expected package delivery, try having a neighbor or a friend receive it at their address instead.

Residents can also have their packages held by the postal service if they are not going to be home.