Tennessee among worst states in the nation for porch pirates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As you get ready to travel for summer vacation, don’t let your packages pile up. Forbes ranks Tennessee as the 11th worst state in the nation for porch pirates.

“It’s an effortless crime,” said Detective Sgt. Josh Combs with the Nolensville Police Department. “There’s not a lot of intel to do; drive around, you see a package. Most of them are piled on top of each other, multiple packages at a time. Makes it pretty easy.”

According to a study by Capitol One Shopping, Americans lost more than $13 billion to package theft last year. Det. Sgt. Combs said surveillance video is key to catching these criminals, especially if you can see their face.

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“There are tools, software we can utilize to identify somebody, especially if there’s a very visible face,’ Det. Sgt. Combs said. “We have software we can use to help identify them now, and you have a better success rate of solving those.”

In 2021, Tennessee enacted the so-called “Porch Pirate Law.” It redefines mail theft to include packages. The first offense is a misdemeanor, but the second offense is Class E felony, punishable by up to a year in jail.

“If you come to our community, we’re going to investigate it. We will follow up on each and every one of them, and we will do our best to prosecute,” Det. Sgt. Combs said. “That’s not something we accept in our community.”

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Detective Sgt. Combs said thieves often recognize distinctive packaging for certain high-dollar items, so track your packages and take them inside ASAP. If you’re not going to be home, have them held or delivered somewhere safe.

“Around the holidays, we have our Operation Front Porch, which is where individuals, if they’re going to be out of town for a long period of time or going to be working odd hours and the packages are going be sitting out, they can have them delivered to the police department,” Det. Sgt. Combs said. “We will safeguard them. They can come show an ID and pick them up, and that way they’re not victimized.”

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