Attention Porch Pirates: New Texas Law Makes Package Theft a FelonyAugust 15, 2019
On Sept. 1, 2019, stealing packages off of porches will be a felony offense in Texas, punishable by prison time. Signed into law on June 10, 2019, House Bill (HB) 37 will make it a felony offense to steal packages, letters, postcards, and sealed packages from homes.
Felony Charges & Penalties for Package Theft in Texas
Specifically, HB 37 will make it a:
- 1st degree felony to steal from more than 50 homes
- 2nd degree felony to steal from 20 to 50 homes
- State felony to steal from less than 10 homes
Depending on the nature of the charges, that could mean that, upon conviction, porch pirates can be sentenced to:
- 6 months to 10 years in prison
- Fines between $4,000 and $10,000
Legislators are sending a clear message to porch pirates, hoping to deter theft.
HB 37 May Spark a National Trend
Among the many that are excited about this new law is Amazon. In fact, the retail giant has conducted surveys on package theft, discovering that about 1 in every 3 packages sent to a customer ends up stolen. Now, Amazon is looking to make Texas the example, as it focuses on backing similar bills across the U.S.
While it remains to be seen how effective HB 37 will be at deterring package and mail theft, those who violate this law will likely be more harshly punished than they have been in the past—and online shoppers in Texas can get a little peace of mind that there’s now a much harsher penalties for package theft.
6 Tips to Prevent Package Theft
- Invest in a parcel locker or a P.O. Box.
- Send packages to your place of work (if permitted).
- Select the “pick up in store” option for online orders.
- Schedule package delivery for a time when you (or someone) will be at your home.
- Write delivery instructions when ordering items, telling the mailperson to leave packages somewhere more discreet, like at a backdoor or inside of a garage.
- Set up security cameras by your porch (the camera may be an effective deterrent, and if it isn’t, you’ll have much better chances of catching the person who’s stolen your package).
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