ROUND ROCK, Texas - It was two years ago, right around Christmas, when Dave Koppell was excited about getting some gifts in the mail for his friends and family.
“I ordered things about a month in advance and it was coming up on Christmas so I called the company to find out where it was and they said we delivered that three weeks ago,” said Koppell.
The problem was he never received them. He was sure he was a victim of porch pirating.
“That's why I wanted to use Operation Front Porch,” he said.
It is a program the Round Rock Police Department started three years back.
“We partner up with the community to give them the opportunity to have their packages delivered to the police department," Chief Allen Banks said. "We safe keep them for three days. This initiative helps to eliminate the opportunity for porch pirates or package thieves to steal packages off the front porches of our residents."
Banks said the program has grown, with the first year only seeing 30 packages at the station to last year being at almost 400. It provides peace of mind to many.
“It's a huge trend around the country and that's why we started this initiative because we were starting to see an uptick in porch thieves,” said Banks.
In addition, porch pirates beware, because stealing packages could now land you in jail, thanks to a harsher law signed by Governor Greg Abbott this past session.
“A new law went into effect, which is making this a state jail felony, package thefts. Which is tremendous because before it was very difficult to prosecute. The charge now is greater and it makes more sense,” said Banks.
Ever since his gifts were stolen, Koppell has been an avid Operation Front Porch user. He hopes this holiday season, other Round Rock residents can heed his warning.
Operation Front Porch begins Nov. 8 and runs through Dec. 21. The department also received an award for its crime prevention efforts and was recognized by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
To use the program, simply add the Round Rock Police Department address to the delivery location when ordering your holiday gifts. For more information, call Round Rock police.