Every year during the holidays, tons of San Diegans will be receiving packages of goods that they have ordered online. Meanwhile, porch pirates will be following Amazon, UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service to steal these goods from the homes of others. San Diego legislators are working to combat porch pirates at the state level. While porch pirating is a low level theft crime under Proposition 47, stealing packages off porches is still a crime.
What is a Porch Pirate?
A porch pirate is someone who takes packages and goods that are left on the doorsteps or porches of homes. Essentially, a porch pirate is a thief.
California Ranks #3 for Porch Pirating
With the growth of online shopping comes a common problem in San Diego, California, and throughout the United States – porch pirating.
A survey as indicated by The Mercury News report, reveals that the Golden State made the top 10 list of states with the highest rates of porch pirating.
The City of San Diego ranks number 9 on the list for the top cities in California with porch pirating issues.
What is Proposition 47?
The enactment of California Proposition 47 reduced the penalties for crimes such as theft of property under $950. This includes porch pirating. The penalties for theft were reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.
According to an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune, this proposition encourages people to steal because if they are caught, the penalties are slim to none. As a result, there has been an increase of theft in the San Diego area.
Why do People Commit Porch Piracy?
People often steal from the porches of others because of financial woes. They may not be able to afford the goods themselves. Some do it for the rush of stealing and getting away with it. Others may commit porch piracy because of drug abuse and mental illness issues.
How to Prevent Porch Piracy
Below are some tips to prevent porch piracy:
- Install door cameras or porch surveillance cameras
- Request signature be required for delivery
- Deliver to another address such as a UPS store, FedEx Kinkos, or Walgreens
- Schedule the package to arrive when you know you will be home for the day
Common Defenses to Porch Pirating
Although porch pirating is a misdemeanor, it is still an offense in the State of California. There are several defenses that may apply if you are charged with this crime. The most common defenses include:
- Mistaken identity
- False accusation
- Insufficient evidence
- Believing that the property belonged to the person being accused