It is almost a daily highlight on social media or the nightly news: A delivery person drops a package on the front porch of a residence and drives away. A thief soon appears to make off with the bounty.

Correction: The print and previous online version of this story mentioned home delivery for German Village Society members. Meeting Haus employees will not deliver holiday packages, which must be picked up by the residents who order merchandise.

It is almost a daily highlight on social media or the nightly news: A delivery person drops a package on the front porch of a residence and drives away. A thief soon appears to make off with the bounty.

But officials in German Village are sending the message that residents can have holiday packages sent to the Meeting Haus, 588 S. Third St., where they can be retrieved during normal business hours.

"Safety is a multifaceted concern of German Village neighbors and (German Village Society) members alike," said Delilah Lopez, executive director of the Society.

"The GVS Safety Committee works hand in hand with Columbus police to identify ... areas of crime and to offer safety tips to help increase safety," she said.

"With petty theft, including porch-package thefts, increasingly on the rise, it made sense to utilize the Meeting Haus as a safe delivery point," Lopez said.

"Making it a value add to current members was a natural approach to help preserve and protect our community."

The Society has nine membership levels starting at $35 to more than $5,000 annually, Lopez said.

More and more consumers are ordering gifts online, creating an easy mark for thieves.

According to Deloitte, a global firm that provides a number of services, including consulting and financial advising, retail sales will increase 5 to 5.6 percent, with online sales rising 17 to 22 percent during the 2018 holiday season.

Sgt. Chantay Boxill, a spokeswoman for the Columbus Division of Police, said residents should work with parcel-delivery companies to put the merchandise in a lock box or a hidden area of their yard if no one will be home.

Installing motion-activated security cameras also can help police capture vital information, such as license-plate numbers, facial features and clothing, Boxill said.

Many thieves repeatedly target a neighborhood, so the likelihood of the same people perpetrating the crime is greater, she said.

"That, of course, helps us prosecute people," she said of camera footage.

"As you know, some of the items delivered would be felony theft, so we can get these people."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary