Police say they have received a number of theft reports involving packages shipped to Missoula homes.

"We are having people report to us that packages are being stolen right off their front porch,' said Missoula Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh. "I think there are unfortunately people in our communities  throughout the country that realize this is a shopping season and that people are ordering more and more, and having those packages delivered."

Welsh advises Missoulians to take precautions and to try to arrange to be home when packages are scheduled to arrive. If being at home during a delivery isn't an option there are other ways of protecting those packages.

"There is typically a place where you can give special instructions on your order and you can instruct them to deliver those packages to a neighbor or to someone you know or maybe place them inside a garage or at the back of the house where they are not readily visible from the street, things like that  can go a long way towards making sure those packages are still sitting there when you come home at the end of the day."

Under Montana law, package theft can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of the items stolen. Welsh says, as far as he is aware, no one has been caught or charged related to package theft recently.