The busiest week in shipping may have also been the busiest time for criminals, as packages left at unanswered doors were being reported stolen around the Chicago suburbs.
On any given day, FedEx ships about 8 million packages. That number doubles to 16 million from Dec. 13-18, making it the busiest shipping period for the carrier, said Steve Barber, spokesman for FedEx.
Sometimes, thieves follow delivery trucks, and that's nothing new, noted Barber.
"It could vary by area," Barber said. "We train our drivers to take security measures, watch out for people following them, problem areas and to leave packages in inconspicuous areas."
Several packages were reported stolen in Evanston and Skokie in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
On Dec. 6, someone stole a a package of three Coach purses that was delivered by UPS to the 2200 block of Ridge Avenue, according to police. that was delivered by the U.S. Postal Service to a home in the 1800 block of Madison Street.
On Dec. 26, a package containing an electronic tablet was reported stolen from an apartment vestibule in the 8000 block of Kilpatrick Avenue in Skokie. The package was to be a delivered from FedEx, but taken before the owner could claim it, according to the police report.
Another man reported a package stolen from his residence in the 4400 block of Madison Avenue in Skokie on Nov. 28.
Police say that in some rare instances, criminals will follow delivery trucks and pick up unattended packages.
"There have been reports in the past about vehicles following UPS trucks," said Skokie Police Officer Joseph Marzigliano. "If the package is really important, we recommend having it dropped off at your workplace or picking it up from the shipping company."
UPS, FedEx and USPS offer the option of picking up packages from one of their store locations.
John Paul Samaria, a 23-year-old sales associate at a cell phone store, agrees with Barber's advice.
"I have everything shipped to my work," Samaria said. "I live in an apartment complex and whenever something gets delivered to my place, it gets left off to the side in the lobby.
"I had a $500 cell phone shipped to my house that I never received," he added. "That's when I decided I wouldn't ship anything to my house anymore - not even my magazines."
Samaria said it took him two weeks and a lot of patience to get another $500 cell phone shipped to his house, adding that there are various steps to reporting a package missing. He also said the second time around, the delivery company required a signature.
"I had to contact [the delivery company] and then I had to contact my wireless carrier - it was frustrating," he said. "If something has to be shipped to my house, I would ask that a signature be required."