The American front porch has long been a symbol of relaxation, sociability and watching the world go by. It has also become a kind of platform for commerce and, as an unintended result, a target for thievery.

In an age of online ordering, a cascade of packages pours daily onto American homes, and often onto their porches. That has made packages vulnerable to thieves, as was highlighted last week in Washington when police reported an arrest in nine incidents of taking packages from porches.

All occurred in Northwest in the Petworth and Park View areas. The first, according to police, came June 4, in the 3300 block of Sherman Avenue. Later thefts, police said, occurred in the 400 block of Kenyon Street NW, the 300 block of Upshur Street and the 700 block of Varnum Street.

Thefts also occurred in the 300 block of Allison Street, the 700 block of Varnum Street for a second time, the 200 block of Rock Creek Church Road and the 4600 block of Eighth Street NW.

The last of the nine, according to police, was Sept. 18, in the 500 block of Irving Street NW.

In each case, police said, someone took a package or packages “from the victim’s front porch then fled.”

Police said Tyrone Edmonson, 46, who had no fixed address, was arrested Thursday and charged with nine counts of second-degree theft.

Authorities often advise having packages delivered to a neighbor who will be home when they arrive.