By Beth Germano, WBZ-TVBy Beth Germano

BROOKLINE (CBS) – Millions of people are shopping online on Cyber Monday, and thieves are counting on it. Thefts of packages right off doorsteps are spiking and police in many cities and towns are urging consumers to better protect themselves.

The town of Brookline has seen the crime rate double with 96 package grabs so far this year. By comparison, there were 47 in 2013 and 49 in 2012.

Brookline resident Robin Weinberg says it’s not often she’s home during the day to retrieve her packages. “You don’t know who’s walking by, and someone is not always home to bring it in for you,” she says.

That’s making delivered packages a target especially this time of year when deliveries keep on coming. The most vulnerable are packages left on porches, and inside vestibules with unlocked doors. The popularity of online shopping and cyber deals is fueling the rash of thefts.

Taj LeBlanc was a victim himself when he realized a package due for delivery never materialized. “They told me yeah it was just delivered, and it was gone,” he says. “It doesn’t feel great.”

Police say thieves often prowl neighborhoods looking for a quick way to make a low-risk theft. Kim Norton says packages are always delivered to her front door and exposed. “There’s no other place to put them,” she said.

Police say consumers can ask to get signatures or get a tracking number, have deliveries at a time when they know they’ll be home, or ask for text or e-mail alerts. “Package theft is a crime of opportunity,” said Brookline Police Lt. Phil Harrington.

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Beth Germano

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