Online shopping might not be a completely new concept, but there’s no denying that it exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. E-commerce continues to be a huge trend post-pandemic; according to estimates, 75% of Americans receive at least one package weekly.
However, the upsurge in online shopping and package deliveries has also increased package theft incidents. Reports say that an average of 67% of Americans have reported falling victim to thieves taking packages sitting on their porch. Last year alone, a whopping 79% had their packages nicked.
Fortunately, Georgia addressed this emerging crime risk by implementing a new law prohibiting porch piracy in 2021. What sort of penalties await those who are charged with porch piracy?
State law on porch piracy
By law, a person is charged with porch piracy if they appropriate or remove three or more envelopes, packages, bags or other similar articles from the immediate vicinity of another individual’s home without permission. The law also specifies that the three stolen packages don’t have to be from just homes, as it also prohibits package theft from dwellings with three or more mailboxes, such as apartments.
Those cited for porch policy can face a felony charge and on conviction will have to serve up to five years in prison. However, the law also explains that the trial judge can use their discretion to lower the conviction to a misdemeanor for lighter penalties.
The cost of porch piracy
Why has Georgia passed a porch piracy law? It’s because the package theft spree is costing everyone money.
According to estimates, the average value of a stolen package is $50. Of course, not all items will cost $50, so thieves will continually take packages until they can score something of greater value. Experts say the annual amount lost to package theft is over $19 million.
For as long as people continue to have packages delivered, porch piracy will remain a risk. Georgia’s new law hopes to curb this problem, but it has some issues. It can incriminate innocent people who have mixed up their packages with another’s. It’s also unable to charge thieves who have stolen less than three packages.