HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The holidays have arrived and many will be expecting packages delivered to their front doors, but it is important to be mindful of porch pirates this season.
Brownsville Police Department’s public information officer, Martin Sandoval, said there has been an increase in porch pirate crimes.
“It happens year-round, but towards the holiday season it happens a lot more because more people are ordering online,” said Officer Sandoval.
He said with more people being back at work in person, packages are left outside longer, giving thieves the opportunity to take them.
“A lot of the houses are left empty with people at work and then the packages get there,” said Officer Sandoval.
He said the police department and Brownsville Crime Stoppers are working to stop these crimes, but help from the community is also needed.
“We need everyone to start reporting these, that way we can get a better accurate count of what’s going on and try to see where we can actually have our officers positioned throughout their shift, to make sure that there’s vigilance,” he said.
Officer Sandoval explained that piracy laws are in effect and committing the crimes could lead to serious consequences.
“Now it comes into how many packages they’ve stolen. Anything less than ten packages is a class A misdemeanor and ten or more is a felony,” he said.
He encourages communicating with neighbors to schedule package pickups when unavailable to receive a package, using a P.O. box, and having a security system.
The owner of Texas State Alarm, Shad Gutierrez, said he also sees an increase in package theft during the holidays.
“As times get tough, especially around the holidays, you’re going to see an influx in porch pirates,” said Gutierrez.
He explained that security systems help to discourage porch pirates.
“What I have noticed is customers that have the video doorbells that have security cameras, they’re not getting hit as hard as people who just don’t have those features,” he said.
Gutierrez explained that newer technology allows security alarms and camera systems to be monitored and alert customers of any activity at your home.
“People do see cameras or they do see doorbells and they’re less likely to mess with your house or take packages, specifically because it sends an instant alert to your phone,” he said.
Officer Sandoval explained that taking security measures to ensure the safety of your home and property is important, but communication is also a factor in security.
“We all have to work together, to make sure that the opportunity for them is not there,” said Officer Sandoval.