HONOLULU (KHON2) — The holidays are almost here and experts have a warning for folks who are expecting gifts in the mail or plan to send some soon.

KHON2 spoke to some experts about how locals can ensure their presents end up in the right hands.

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The councilmember-elect for Honolulu City Council District 6 said none of his mail or packages have ever been stolen.

“But neighbors have told me for many months, all throughout the community, not just Pacific Heights, but Nuuanu, Alewa Heights, a number of other neighborhoods, that this happens on a regular basis,” Tyler Dos Santos-Tam said.

The CEO of Security Alarm Shop said the happiest time of year just might be his busiest for camera installations.

“Yeah, especially during the holiday season when the package delivery rate increases so much, and people know that it’s gifts and things,” said Jim Harrow, CEO of Security Alarm Shop. “Any kind of visual deterrent, might work. So definitely having a sign.”

Harrow also pointed to doorbell cameras — deterrents themselves — but said to keep an eye on notifications.

“The whole idea to have it work is there has to be a response. So if you’re getting the alert and there’s the person in front and you’re not talking back to him or her and you’re not responding, it doesn’t do any good,” Harrow said.

Harrow and Dos Santos-Tam both agreed that being a good neighbor and simply watching out for suspicious activity in the area is a must.

“Whether that’s through a formal neighborhood watch program or just by an informal text chain amongst the neighbors on your street,” Dos Santos-Tam said.

Almost 25 percent of Americans fell victim to package theft in 2021, according to the Better Business Bureau. Hawaii’s marketplace manager had her own experience with outgoing envelopes.

Before she became a scam expert, Roseann Freitas had put several gift cards in envelopes to send out for a fundraiser.

“It was 20 years ago; I had stuck a bunch of mail outgoing,” Freitas said. “Unfortunately, someone came and went around the neighborhood and went into everybody’s mailbox and stole their mail.”

Freitas said going to the Post Office is the best bet for sending mail. She also recommended in-store delivery — a great option for folks who are concerned about packages being delivered to their home.

“You can order it online and have them ship it to their store,” Freitas said. “Whether it’s a FedEx store or UPS store, you might wanna contact those stores just to verify what the process is for having it there and for them holding it.”

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KHON2 reached out to the Honolulu Police Department to see how many reports of mail theft have been recorded in November, 2022 but has not heard a response.