The state’s new law meant to combat the growing problem of porch piracy is sort of odd in how it assigns levels of seriousness to the crime, but it might be an effective method.

If you are unfamiliar with the porch pirate phenomenon, which has grown along with the popularity of internet shopping, you’ve been lucky.

Michael A. Smith: 409-683-5206;

(5) comments

Bailey Jones

I'm not sure how I feel about someone going to jail for a year for stealing $20 worth of toilet paper off my porch. Hopefully the justice system will use these new penalties as leverage to get these porch pirates the help they need.

Ron Shelby

I feel more than fine about it. When they steal it, they have no concept of what's in it. In fact, I would argue that they are probably hoping to get much more than your toilet paper. Maybe a new Iphone.

Miceal O'Laochdha

Bailey, I think it is the completely random nature of the value of items stolen in this way that drives the increased penalty for increased occasions of the crime. The box stolen from your porch might hold toilet paper while the one from your neighbor might hold a new computer. Also, these are thieves are getting very close to our homes and gaining knowledge of the home and habits of the occupants. Either they or the friends in their thief community that they share information with may soon be back for a home invasion and all the harm and personal danger that can entail. The guy stealing your package will not know it was only toilet paper and indeed, frustrated when he finds that is the case, he may keep returning to your home until he gets what he thinks is worth his time. Strong penalties are called for the closer the thief gets to our homes and families, regardless of what they score. It is a dangerously intimate crime.

Bailey Jones

I agree. I suspect there's a mix of incorrigible thieves and mentally or chemically challenged homeless persons that are responsible for most of this. I'd like to see the former prosecuted, and the latter helped. One good outcome of this will be if more citizens equip their property with cameras.

Jim Casey

If people know that they can commit a crime with impunity, they will. And they do.

Drunk driving used to be dealt with by the police taking the offender home, or a fine. It took the threat of felony prosecution and other severe penalties to put a dent in it.

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