Porch pirates: Local police warn residents to be on alert this holiday season

‘Tis the season for stolen packages, thanks to modern-day Grinches swiping them right off people’s front stoops.

"We have more people getting packages delivered to their house. So the opportunity’s there, people are going to take advantage of that opportunity," said Assistant Chief Justin Carmichael of the Round Rock Assistant Police Chief Justin Carmichael. 

In Round Rock, Operation Front Porch is back for its sixth year.

"The reason we started this program was an increase in package thefts," said Carmichael.

Carmichael says you can have your package shipped to the Round Rock Police Department, under your name, from now through Dec. 22.

"We hold them for three days and people can come in during business hours and pick up their packages," said Carmichael. "It’s been pretty popular over the years. We've had over 1,100 packages shipped to the police department."

In Kyle, they’re using a funny Public Service Announcement campaign to convey a serious message.

"You obviously don't want to leave those packages out there visible on the porch for an extended period of time so," said Kyle Assistant Police Chief Pedro Hernandez.

Hernandez suggests using a drop box with a lock, or signing up for notifications, so you know when your package is delivered.

"If you can't pick them up yourself, have somebody, a trusted neighbor or family member, pick them up for you," said Hernandez.

Having a doorbell camera can help catch porch pirates in the act.

"We've seen a lot of success in identifying suspects," said Hernandez. "They're captured on somebody's doorbell, camera or security surveillance camera. So they have been useful."

Back in Round Rock, you can sign up with the Community Camera program.

"We can't actually view the video, but we have you on a registry. So if a crime happens in your area, we can contact you to get that footage," said Carmichael.

With a more proactive public, police have a message for porch pirates this holiday season.

"If you're committing these package thefts, we have a lot higher chance these days of catching you than we have in the past," said Carmichael.

If, despite your best efforts, your package does disappear here are some tips:

  • Track it to make sure there wasn’t a shipping issue
  • Make sure your neighbors didn’t pick it up for you
  • If it does appear stolen, contact the seller or retailer
  • File a claim with the shipping company and your credit cards