Porch Pirates are Frustrating, but is New Legislation the Answer?


Online ordering is quickly becoming the preferred shopping method for many California consumers. However, the system is not perfect. Consumers purchase something from an online shop such as Amazon, only to find that by the time they go to retrieve their package, someone else has already scooped it up from their step. It is a real problem, and one that many would like an answer to. California’s lawmakers think they may have the solution, but do they? 

The proposed law would reclassify a person’s porch, or front step, as an extension of their home. That would make even entering it burglary, even if a person did not steal anything once they entered. The law is intended to charge any porch pirates as felons. Currently, the value of the items stolen must be over $950 in order for a felony charge to stand. However, many consider the new law simply too steep. 

“The biggest concern with expanding the definition of the law to include the porch is the snowball effect that can result from that point,” says Jo-Anna Nieves of The Nieves Law Firm. “Where do we draw the line? How far can lawmakers extend protections outside of the home? How much is too much? It is literally opening a door to an unpredictable chain of events.” 

Police departments have thrown some support to the bill. However, even they say that the best deterrent is vigilant consumers. There is an alert that can be set up on a consumer’s phone to alert them that an Amazon package is there. And, simply being aware of when the package is going to be delivered and making sure someone is there can also be a great deterrent. 

Lastly, those that order many packages may wish to invest in video surveillance of their door area. Police officers have stated they have a lot of success catching thieves when they are caught on tape. These are much better measures that can help stop porch pirates, and they will not put innocent people in for a theft crime they did not commit. 

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