Twenty-six million Americans had a package stolen off of their front porch last year, and that prompted Texas to create tougher penalties for porch pirates.  Steal a package, and now you'll face anywhere from six months to ten years in prison.

InsuranceQuotes.com did a survey and found that package thefts take place all year, but the holiday season is prime time.  In 2018, 26.1 million Americans had a package swiped from their front porch, and tens of thousands of those thefts happened right here in Texas.  That prompted some Texans to install security cameras on the front porch, or lockboxes that only authorized users have access too.  Other times we'll have packages delivered to a neighbor's house, or to the office so we know the box ends up in the hands of someone trustworthy.

Worries about porch pirates prompted Texas lawmakers to act too.  Stealing a package off of someone's porch is now a felony crime in Texas.  It's a first-degree felony if you steal from more than 50 people, a second-degree felony if you steal from 20-50 people and a state felony if you steal from less than 10 people.  Punishment can range from  six months to ten years in prison. The law went into effect September 1.

I always wonder how porch pirates know there's something valuable inside the box.  What if they open up the package, and it's a bunch of cotton balls and paper towels, or some hearing aid batteries for Grandpa?  Being a porch pirate seems like it would be risky in so many ways.

I did have a freak-out moment this holiday season when I thought a package had been swiped from my front porch, but it turned out it had been delivered to the neighbor's house by accident.  Delivery guys and gals have a lot to keep track of right now, and we'll cut them some slack if they don't always get it right.  But there will be no slack for package thieves, especially in Texas with the new law in effect.

Happy holidays!  May all your packages arrive on time, and in one piece, and if you see a car creeping along behind a delivery truck like it's ready to pounce, it could be a porch pirate.  Get ready to call 911 and help a neighbor this holiday season.