Holiday Porch Pirates
Posted by: Communications Team | December 14, 2020
The combination of Covid-19 and the Holiday Season has all of us ordering more gifts online this year. This situation is not only a boon for retailers but for those porch pirates as well. We thought we would take a look at having packages delivered to your home during the Holidays.
C+R Research completed a survey of about 2,000 American consumers discovering about 36% have had to deal with package theft in the last year. That number is up from 31% last year. This same survey found that 44% of their survey had packages delivered at least once a week. The security steps taken by those surveyed include:
Install doorbell camera – 25%
Installed camera other than doorbell – 19%
Motion lights – 17%
Bought dog – 10%
Clever Action from the Sherriff’s Department
The Harris County Sherriff’s Department created a program for leaving fake packages on doorsteps around the county. These packages contain tracking devices showing the Sherriff the location of those package so the thief can be stopped before they get too far.
"The whole point of doing these operations and letting the public know what we are doing is for deterrence," said Javier Urena with the Harris County Sheriff's Office. "If we can deter the crime, that's even better."
Take the Next Step
Deputies say if you have a package stolen, don't just notify the delivery company. They urge you to call them too, so they can set up even more sting operations.
If you live in Harris County and have an unwanted encounter with a porch pirate, let the sheriff's office know by calling 713-221-6000.
Porch Pirate Law
Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation in June of 2019 that increases punishment for stealing mail, which is defined as "a letter, postal card, package, bag, or other sealed article" addressed to an individual that has been dropped off by a common carrier or delivery service or has been left by a customer for pickup.
Under this law, convicted mail thieves could be sentenced to between 180 days in jail and 10 years in prison, depending on how many people they have targeted. They will also face fines ranging from $4,000 to $10,000.
One porch pirate victim decided to use some of the left-over delivery boxes to express her ire with the porch pirates. She filled the boxes with used cat litter and doled them out over the next few weeks.
Yet another victim discovered through her doorbell camera that a local squirrel was the thief.
Dean and Draper
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Sources: Houston Chronicle, click2houston, abc13, C+R Research