COVID-19 has changed all of our lives and the way we conduct daily activities. Limitations on store capacity, curfews, and fears of contracting the virus have led more people to do their shopping online. You can go down any street these days and see multiple homes with packages on their front step or porch. Because there has been a marked increase in online ordering, everything from home goods to groceries, there has been a corresponding rise in these packages being stolen.
“Porch piracy” is the term used to label the act of stealing a package off of someone’s porch or the entrance to their home. The theft of packages has gotten the attention of Senator Brian W. Jones who, in response to the issue, put forth Senate Bill 358. This bill would make the penalties for porch piracy much tougher so that individuals tempted to engage in the crime would be dissuaded from doing so.
What are the Current Porch Pirate Laws in California?
According to Senator Jones, current laws are too soft on criminals who steal from others. SB 358 would fix the lenient punishments by replacing them with harsher ones. Right now theft of one’s package from their home is considered a misdemeanor. This classification does not change even in situations in which the offender continues to commit the crime. Under the provisions of SB 358, a first offense will result in a misdemeanor. However, if an individual is arrested in three or more instances for porch piracy over a three year period of time, the charges will be elevated to a felony level.
Going from a misdemeanor to a felony means that the amount of time spent behind bars will be increased. Not only are there more packages being sent to homes, but the law in California treats porch pirates differently than they treat a person who breaks into a home and robs it. This is another reason why there are more offenders who are guilty of committing the crime on a regular basis. Individuals convicted of porch piracy do not fear the California criminal justice system because the penalties are too weak. So, there is no real deterrent for these individuals.
SB 358 has not yet been passed. Currently, the legislation is waiting to be assigned a hearing date. Continue reading