How common is package theft?

Dec 17, 2020 | Uncategorized

package on porch

Is package theft a crime?

‘Tis the season to be jolly and ‘tis the season to have packages stolen from your porch. Package theft is the latest craze of thieves, and while it happens all year long, the holiday time is the busiest time of the year for them. It used to be mailbox theft, and while that is still around, package theft in the U.S. has become worse. 

The criminal statutes state that “a person commits theft of property if, with intent to deprive the owner of property, the person knowingly obtains or exercises control over the property without the owner’s effective consent.” What that means is that it is considered theft if you take something of somebody’s and have no intention of returning it, including porch package theft. 

Tennessee, like most states, classify a theft offense by the value, including package theft at this time.  There is legislation in place that would make package theft more severe crime to include jail time instead of the misdemeanor or petty theft, the lowest level offense at this time.

What kind of crime is it to steal a package?

 Because package theft is a relatively “new” thing in the world of crime, what with online shopping at an all-time high, the package theft laws have not been revised for most states. As we mentioned above, in Tennessee, there is legislation in place that will make package theft a more serious crime. Those caught, arrested, found guilty of package theft, from mailboxes, porches, any residential drop off place, punishable by time behind bars. 

What happens if you get caught stealing packages?

 The punishment for a first-time package theft crime offense would be based on the value of the article stolen. The legislation presented in Tennesse has stipulated that any subsequent package theft offense to be classified as a Class D Felony which carries a punishment of twelve years incarcerated and a $5,000 fine. 

Is porch piracy a federal crime?

It is a video that we have seen more than one over the past few years. A person walks up to a porch, takes a package that a delivery service left behind, and then walk off with it. Package theft is a crime on the rise and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. In fact, with an increase in online shopping, we’ll probably see, and experience, more package theft. Criminals seem to get bolder and braver every passing day. 

While the local law enforcement across the country is cracking down on this activity, the penalties they face in most states is nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Why? Unless they are taking it out of the mailbox, it is not a federal crime at this time. So, front porch package theft isn’t going to be as seriously punished as if they were to take something out of your mailbox.

However, as porch package theft increases, the more states are considering making it a felony when caught. In Texas, that felony charge could land a person behind bars up to ten years. California, Michigan, New Jersey, and South Carolina are working through legislation along those same lines for package theft. 

What is the penalty for porch Pirates?

It happens to almost 40% of all Americans. Annually, tens of millions of residents have been the victim of package theft. The act where FedEx, UPS, or USPS leaves a package on a front porch and somebody comes along and takes it. With the Ring doorbell ap, we’re seeing more evidence of with a ‘live at five’ footage.  Yet, those thieves just keep up the package theft work like it’s another workday. 

Several states have taken matters into their own justice system and made it a felony, slammed stricter punishment to those caught in the act of package theft. Other states have legislation waiting to be vote on, like Tennessee.  What does the legislature in the Volunteer State have in mind for punishing those charged with package theft? 

  • First Offense: No changes, the punishment would remain as it is now and charged as a misdemeanor based on the package value. 
  • Second Offense: Package theft charge would be faced with a Class D Felony, punished with jail time as little as two years and as much as twelve years, in addition to a fine of $5,000.00.
packages and porch pirates

What Can Residents Do About Package Theft?

First thing would be not shopping online, but it is highly unlikely that is going to happen, especially with the COVID-19 scare. Another option is to have packages sent to somebody else’s home. That is a great solution if that person is going to be home!  

One of the most popular package theft deterrents being used today is the video camera. There are aps available so that your cell phone advises you somebody is on your porch.  Many of these allow you to talk to that person, some funny videos have shown the reactions. 

Another deterrent is to leave packages on your porch yourself filled with something that is really going to be a disappointment, like a box full of animal or human waste. This could backfire though if the thief decides to retaliate in some manner. Those videos have not made it on the air … yet. Call 901-476-1125 today for bail bonds help in Advanced Bail Bond, [nw_data field=state].

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