Bill to Increase Penalties for Porch Pirates Rejected by Senate Public Safety Committee

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On Wednesday, a bill that would increase the penalties on people who steal packages from the porch or entryway of someones home was voted down by the California State Senate Public Safety Committee.

The bill, SB 979, which was introduced by Senator Brian Jones‘ (R-Santee) in February.

According to the bill, it would prohibit a person from entering the curtilage of a residential dwelling, as defined, with the intent to commit theft of a package shipped through the mail or delivered by a public or private carrier. The bill would make a violation of that prohibition punishable as a misdemeanor by imprisonment in a county jail for a term not exceeding one year. For a 3rd or subsequent violation within a 36-month period, the bill would make the crime punishable as a misdemeanor by imprisonment in a county jail for a term not exceeding one year or as a felony by imprisonment in a county jail for 16 months, or 2 or 3 years. By creating a new crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

“Some of the most vulnerable in our community, such as seniors and disabled individuals, rely on home delivery of goods for survival. During the COVID-19 crisis, vulnerable individuals unable to leave their home rely on package delivery for essential items such as medication and food,” stated Senator Jones.  “Unfortunately, an increase in package delivery has also led to an increase in package theft from outside Californians’ homes. This ‘porch piracy’ epidemic is serious and needs to be addressed by our criminal justice system. Current law is weak on the punishment of this type of theft but this bill would have increased the consequences significantly,” Jones notes.

Current law provides that a theft of a package from the porch or entryway of someone’s home is merely a misdemeanor, no matter how many repeat convictions the perpetrator may have on their record.  SB 979 would have allowed prosecutors to charge the perpetrator (“porch pirate”) with a misdemeanor or with a felony in the third or subsequent conviction during a 36-month period.

While the majority-party members of the Senate Public Safety Committee acknowledged the problem of increased porch piracy and the need to address it in California, they never-the-less voted down SB 979.

“Some of these so-called ‘porch pirates’ are habitual offenders who keep dodging real punishment for their actions because thefts from outside a home are treated differently under current law than burglaries committed inside a home,” continued Jones.  “California often leads the nation in policy, and this needs to be one of those times. While the committee agreed porch piracy is a problem in the state, unfortunately, the committee did not agree that these offenders deserve a punishment that’s fit for their crime.”

SB 979 was defeated in Senate Public Safety on a 2-5 party line vote with Republican Senators John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) and Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga) supporting the measure, while Democrat Senators Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), and Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) voted against it.

Meanwhile, in February, Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) introduced a bill that would strengthen the punishment for package thieves.

Under AB 1210, which was introduced on February 21, says anyone with the intent to commit theft of a package shipped through the mail or delivered by a public or private carrier would be punishable as a misdemeanor by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or as a felony by imprisonment in a county jail for 16 months, or 2 or 3 years.

Low’s bill has not yet been voted on.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Of course the dems voted it down they want us to get raped n pillaged all the time. They want our rights taken away. I seen one in the act on my cams at my house and I got his ass…… I gave him a punishment … one he’ll never forget

  2. Republicans try to put them away and Democrats just want them on the loose. Another reason why the dems need to be voted out. Just saying.

  3. Not a problem for me. I just shoot them when I see them trying to grab my packages or they are on MY property! Haven’t had a package stolen since.

    • Damn, I didn’t read about that, the local homeowner that shot the “porch pirate”. I also didn’t read about the police responding or the shooting victim showing up at a local hospital. I gotta start reading the paper more because obviously I’m missing things.
      But, in all seriousness, I’ll believe the Dems that voted this down simply because they don’t believe in jail, bail and a whole host of others things associated with the enforcement of laws.

      • Hey SIMON-ASS
        Leave YOU mommies basement-
        YOU do realize they didn’t mean YOU had to stay in the basement all day every day
        You can go outside every once in a while

        You might actually prefer REALITY!!!

        • Adolescence (from Latin adolescere, meaning ‘to grow up’) is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood (age of majority).

      • Oh yeah? Since when? I shot one punk with a cross bow in the ass! Let’s see him go to the police or the hospital and tell them his story. If they are on MY property and were not invited (or they are not delivering mail), that I consider to be a threat to my safety. I hope he gets to sit down again!

  4. Remember these names in November. Vote. Them. Out!!
    The Dems have turned California into a lawless cesspool. Get rid of them!

  5. Of course it was shot down, it was introduced by a Republican. Didn’t see that coming???? This state will not sustain a future at it’s current rate.

  6. Another example of how our laws makes it easier for thieves to do their job… like how a store can be sued if they accuse someone for even trying to steal. Or how I guess stores can’t actually stop them in the middle of a theft… my last job said we can’t even stop them until they leave out the store with the stolen goods.. most store thrives barely even get jail time.. or a mark… just a “don’t come here again” lol

  7. There was one time I actually saw a customer opening boxes and taking stuff… still can’t approach them and accuse them… have to walk up like “got a question?” Or something lol

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