MENTOR, Ohio (WJW) – The holiday season is right around the corner. With that comes plenty of shopping, especially online. 

As the packages pile up on our front porch, a crime of opportunity can pile up as well.

That’s why Mentor police officer Scott Bell says their team is getting ready to deploy their “porch pirate” program —which aims at stopping these crimes in their tracks.

“We just felt the need to get out there a little bit more and kind of watch the neighborhoods a little bit,” said Officer Bell. 

To accomplish that mission, several tactics will be rolled out.

This includes police using unmarked cars, surveillance equipment, and the use of what they call a “bait box.”

“They’ll set a bait box on a porch with a GPS tracker in it and if someone takes that box, we can track them and get the bad guy,” shared Officer Bell. 

However, Officer Bell also wanted to remind people that porch thievery is all opportunity and there are steps all of us can take to make sure we don’t become a victim.

“The biggest thing people can do is either have the package delivered at a certain time, specifically when they are home. Have it delivered to a neighbor possibly. Have it delivered to work if they can, just so that it’s not sitting on their porch,” explained Officer Bell. 

A collaborative effort between police and the community is what Officer Bell is hoping for this winter.

If that does happen, porch pirates better beware. 

“Don’t do it in Mentor. We are out there, our patrol officers are out there constantly, our unmarked cars are out there constantly. You don’t know what we are driving, where we are,” said Officer Bell.