LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — It’s the holiday season, and while more Americans are purchasing gifts online with delivery to their doorstep, the number of porch pirates snagging gifts has increased by 23% this year.

“It’s a crime of opportunity, people casually and confidently walk up to the porch and they take it and walk away,” said Sage Singleton, Communications Manager at safewise.com.

New data from safewise shows that over 260 million packages worth $19.5 billion were stolen in the past 12 months, amounting to 50 million more than last year.

“Everybody knows that its the holiday season and people are shopping, and porch pirates know that also. They are looking for people who have their packages who may be working, who may be out shopping, that are leaving packages outside.”

Sage Singleton, Communications Manager at safewise.com

Research shows no signs of online shopping slowing down, creating increased opportunities for porch pirates.

“We can order everything with the click of a button,” Singleton said. “There are more packages being delivered so there are more packages being stolen.”

Experts say leaving your packages out for longer periods of time can increase the chances of them being stolen.

According to safewise, the best ways to help safeguard your purchases include: getting delivery alerts, requiring signatures for packages, having outdoor cameras, and installing a home security system.

“You can literally monitor who’s on your front porch,” Singleton said.

If you’re not home, delivery experts advise having a friend or neighbor pick up your package for you.

However, experts say even with security measures, package theft can still occur.

“This can happen to you, this can happen to anybody,” Singleton said.

If you have an item stolen, file a police report and show footage if you have it.