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Keeping the roads and your packages safe during this holiday season

In short, don't get behind the wheel if you drink during the holidays, and watch for 'porch pirates' if you shop online.

MAINE, Maine — Editors note: The video above aired Dec. 24, 2020.

"Black-out Wednesday" marks one of the most dangerous days of the year on the roads.

The day before Thanksgiving means a lot of travel, and in some cases, a lot of drinking when reuniting with friends and family. With the possibility of more drunk drivers on the road, police will be watching, hoping to prevent the combination of alcohol and celebrations from turning deadly.

Police say roads are busier at this time of year, and drunk driving crashes typically spike.

Bangor Police Sgt. Wade Betters said a bad decision may cost people their driver's licenses.

"Things have changed a little bit," he said. "We actually do see a significant amount of OUI arrests in the daytime hours. It's not so much just in the evening when the bars get out. But if you do enjoy adult beverages, alcoholic drinks, make sure that you have a plan ahead of time. Think about it. Is it really worth it to drive a mile or two up the street to your home? You could kill someone else. You could kill yourself, get into an accident. Just getting pulled over and arrested is going to be bad enough."

Betters reminded people that it doesn't take a lot of alcohol to put you over the legal limit, and an Uber or a taxi is a safe option or carpool with a friend or another driver who did not drink.

Even though Thanksgiving is foremost in peoples' minds right now, it's also holiday shopping season, so be on the lookout for  "porch pirates," the thieves who steal your packages off your front porch.

Here are some tips to avoid falling victim to porch pirating:

  • Request a signature from USPS or FedEx
  • Leave special delivery instructions
  • Track your purchases
  • Have your online orders delivered to a different address where someone is home, to receive the package
  • Send special instructions for USPS of FedEx drivers to know exactly where to place your delivery to keep it safe

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday, just a few days away, Betters said porch pirates are snatching packages well ahead of the holiday season, usually during the day when many people are at work.

He said it's actually getting easier to catch the porch pirates in the act.

"Recently we've seen an uptick in people supplying us with pretty good videos or camera images of people going on to their porches and back decks at nighttime," he said. "Luckily, surveillance cameras have come along quite well in the last few years. We've been able to actually see some of these people perpetrate or attempt to take people's property, so if you are thinking of stealing packages, know that there's a pretty good chance you are going to be caught on camera."