Michigan Senate approves bills to combat "porch pirates"

Published: Feb. 28, 2019 at 6:54 PM EST
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(02/28/19) - This morning, Michigan Senate approved unanimously to advance bills that would combat mail and package theft.

They call them "porch pirates," criminals who repeatedly steal packages delivered to peoples' homes.

A first violation would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. Repeat violators could go to prison.

"When it passes out of the chamber with 38 votes out of 38, it sends a pretty strong message to the house that this is something we feel strongly about, and we feel pretty good that this will get all the way to the Governor's desk," Jim Ananich said. Ananich is the Senate Democratic Leader for Flint and Genesee County.

A lot more people are shopping online in 2019, so sending and receiving packages is very common.. As for a goal, Senator Ananich is considering when "porch pirates" are most active.

"Obviously the majority of these packages are going to be stolen around Christmas, because that's when people send the most gifts, so I think we'd like to have it in effect before then" Ananich said.

For a shipping store owner like Kristin Howard, she's received phone calls regarding "porch pirates" since 2017. She hopes the bills will help prioritize customer safety.

"I think it'll help build security and peoples' faith in shipping companies knowing that we're doing our best to make sure they're protected," Howard said.

According to testimony in committee, there were about 19,000 mail and theft complaints throughout Michigan in 2017 and 2018. Of those, about 90% complained that packages from Amazon had been taken off doorsteps and from other locations.

This bill, obviously, looking to trim that number down drastically.