LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

Ordering items online leads to shipping. Which also leads to thieves finding an opportunity to pick up those packages before they make it to the shopper.

In La Crosse alone, the U.S. Postal Service gets about 20 to 30 calls a week during the holiday season about missing packages.

That's about three times as many calls it would usually get during a typical week.

"These thieves are going around in our neighborhoods and they're just looking for these packages, it may be that they're even following some of the delivery trucks or following a mail truck," said Thomas Walsh with the La Crosse Police Department.

U.S. Postal Service officials say there are certain areas in La Crosse that are more likely to experience porch theft.

"We have a couple of areas on the north side that we seem to get an uptick, apartment areas over that way that always seems to be one of the hot spots for us is multiple dwellings they seem to be more comfortable to walk up there, they feel that there is multiple residents there no one is going to notice them coming up and taking a package," said Paul Knoll with the USPS in La Crosse.

Knoll said there are a few things shoppers can do to help protect packages that are being delivered.

"One of the things I would recommend is to never on a continuous basis allow your mail to be left sitting out on the porch for an extended period of time, so if you have a package coming I would recommend and make sure that someone is either collecting the mail or picking it up within a reasonable amount of time, not leave it sit there for a day or so," he said.

La Crosse police officers say this kind of theft is a trend during the holiday season but avoiding it can be a community effort.

"Having your neighbors look out for you, if you know you're not going to be around ask your neighbor to go over and pick up these packages," Walsh said.

The USPS in La Crosse delivers about 20,000 packages a week and that number jumps to 30,000 during the holiday season.

Postmasters also recommend shoppers use the USPS website where they can set up and manage their package delivery.

This also provides shoppers with live tracking as far as when they package would arrive to their home.