By Tim McNicholas

RIVER FOREST, Ill. (CBS) — Home deliveries have gone way up during the COVID-19 pandemic, and experts say package thefts have skyrocketed as well. So what can consumers do to the protect themselves?

CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas has some advice.

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David Campbell showed CBS 2 video of a woman walking into his Forest Park apartment building just before a FedEx worker.She then presses a buzzer and somehow gets through a usually locked door. Once the FedEx worker is gone, she snatches the package he’d just dropped off.

“It’s ridiculous,” Campbell said.

He said it contained a $700 phone he’d bought.

“I feel like people should really just get jobs,” he said. “Because stealing from other people like individuals like that, I don’t think that’s okay.”

It’s the kind of story we’ve uncovered time and time again.

“It’s not going anywhere,” said Teresa Murray of the Public Interest Research Group.

Murray said package thefts are more prevalent than ever.

“Especially in the past year and a half during the pandemic because a lot of folks started having more things delivered to their homes,” she said.

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So we wondered: What can consumers do to avoid being a porch pirate’s next victim?

“Package theft really comes down to a crime of opportunity,” said Ben Stickle, a criminal justice professor with Middle Tennessee State University.

He said landlords can fight the problem by setting up a locked package room away from the entrance.

“Its a real issue because buildings just weren’t designed to handle this volume of packages,” he said.

If that’s not an option, you can buy a lockbox to put outside your door and send the code to the delivery person. Experts also say you should sign up for tracking notifications and be ready to grab your package as soon as it’s dropped off.

“It makes me feel really violated,” Campbell said.

But he said in his case, the phone was gone in just minutes, so he had to buy another one for work.

“I might be taking a loss on this honestly, and that just sucks,” he said.

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He’s filed a police report and is doing whatever he can to get his money back.

Tim McNicholas