It’s that time of year again for thieves to steal the good cheer of the holidays by stealing packages delivered by commercial companies and/or the U.S. Postal Service.

What can you do to make sure you’re not victimized?

We had five such thefts in November but we’re sure we’ll see more in December simply because the supply of packages increases.

Take the opportunity away from thieves by scheduling any package deliveries for times when someone is home to accept them or ask a trusted neighbor to receive the merchandise. You can also take advantage of services offered by some delivery companies that include delivery time windows or package delivery notifications via text. Still others accept special instructions including delivery to a back porch. Other tips include:

• Having packages delivered to your place of employment instead of your home.

• Ask about alternative pickup and delivery options. For example, in some areas, UPS, FedEx and the Postal Service can deliver your packages to a local access point such as a grocery or convenience store. More information is available on each service’s website.

• Require a signature for packages you mail. The small upcharge is worth the peace of mind knowing your packages got delivered to the intended recipient.

• Before you ship your packages, talk to the recipients about their preferences on delivery and what works best for them.

One of the most important suggestions is to keep an eye out for suspicious persons or behaviors in your neighborhood and encourage your neighbors to do the same. Pay special attention to when a delivery truck is in your area. Many thieves follow these trucks and steal packages within minutes of their delivery. If you see something suspicious, call 911 immediately.

If possible and it doesn’t put you in danger, try to take a video or picture of any suspicious persons or vehicles with your cell phone. We charged a man last year after a quick-thinking witness spotted him committing package thefts on the Near South East Side. The witness took a photo of the vehicle the suspect was driving which showed the license plate number. The vehicle being driven by the man when he was arrested was the same as in the photos taken by the witness.

These types of videos and photos close the gap of our response time because frequently, criminals have left the scene by the time we arrive. The pictures and videos depict real-time proof of a crime being committed and offer valuable evidence from which leads can be quickly established. Never attempt to intervene or apprehend a criminal yourself.

The package thefts this month in Aurora include:

• Around 10:50 a.m. Nov. 28, a woman was seen taking a package that had just been delivered off the front porch of a home in the 500 block of E. Galena. The woman was described as Hispanic, about 30 to 35 years old, 5’4”,150 lbs. who was accompanied by two small children and driving a silver minivan.

• Sometime after 1:30 p.m. Nov. 27, a television delivered to the inside of a hotel in the 100 block of W. Galena was apparently stolen. • Sometime between 12:20 p.m. and 6 p.m. Nov. 20, a package that contained cosmetics was taken from a front porch in the 800 block of Taylor Ave.

• Sometime between 5:20 p.m. Nov. 16 and 5:15 p.m. Nov. 17, a package containing a vacuum cleaner was taken from the doorstep of an apartment in the 1200 block of Nantucket Dr.

• Sometime between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Nov. 8, a package containing electronics was taken from the front porch of a home in the 2200 block of Faith Ln. Aside from the one on E. Galena, there are no suspect descriptions in any of the other thefts.

If you have any information, please call our Investigations Division at 630-256-5500 or Aurora Area Crime Stoppers at 630-892-1000.