DES MOINES, Iowa — As people order gifts online this holiday season, it’s important they protect them from potential porch pirates.

Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said package thefts do happen in the city. They’re more common around the holidays as more people shop online.

He said ways people can protect themselves include scheduling the delivery for when they’re home or requiring a signature, asking a trusted neighbor who’s home to pick up the package, or arranging to pick up the package at the delivery source.

Parizek said having a home security system can make it easier for police to find the porch pirate.

“In terms of catching these thieves, we have much greater success these days because of home security systems where we’re able to get an image of a car or an image of a person, and even if you don’t have and your neighbor does, we might be able to catch a person coming and going from your neighborhood,” he said.

Parizek said home security systems also can deter porch pirates if they’re clearly visible or there’s a sign in the yard letting people know the home has a security system.

He added people can sign up for “WatchDSM,” a voluntary program telling Des Moines Police which homes have security systems. Officers can only access the footage with the homeowner’s permission.