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The COVID-19 pandemic caused an uptick in deliveries of groceries and packages in Colorado and all across the country as millions of Americans have come to rely on safe package delivery services such as Amazon, FedEx, and UPS, and now online shopping is expected to surge even more during this holiday season. 

The combination of pandemic-fueled package delivery services and holiday online shopping seems to make the perfect environment for “porch pirates” who steal packages right from the recipient’s doorstep or porch. 

The risk of “porch piracy” during the 2020 holiday season in the coronavirus era is greater than ever given that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends delivery drivers to practice “contactless deliveries” to reduce the spread of the coronavirus disease, leaving valuable packages and gifts unattended and vulnerable to theft.

Porch piracy during COVID-19 pandemic

Porch piracy has become a widespread type of theft in Colorado and other states across the country. As mentioned earlier, porch piracy occurs when a person removes a delivered package right from the recipient’s porch or doorstep. And this year, there are even more opportunities for these porch pirates to snatch packages due to an increase in unattended package deliveries during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A 2020 survey by Value Penguin found that nearly 1 in 5 consumers have become victims of porch piracy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the key findings of the survey include:

  • More than half (54%) of respondents reported that porch pirates stole multiple packages from them in the past year. 
  • A third of all consumers (33%) said they knew someone who became a victim of porch piracy during the coronavirus crisis. 
  • On average, victims of porch piracy lost $106. 
  • Less than half of respondents who became victims of package theft said the thief was caught. 
  • The vast majority of stolen packages (57%) were from Amazon. 
  • Residents of apartment buildings are more likely to become victims of porch piracy (40%)

Porch piracy and property crime rates in Colorado

According to national data gathered by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, theft of personal property during December is 22% higher than the average rate for this type of property crime during all months combined. 

A 2020 report released by KDVR showed that porch and package theft is up in Denver, Colorado, outpacing the last five years. But which cities in Colorado have the highest property crime rates? According to Value Penguin, the following Colorado cities have the highest property crime rates per 100,000 residents: 

  • Denver (23,711);
  • Colorado Springs (18,175);
  • Aurora (10,786);
  • Pueblo (7,596);
  • Lakewood (6,892);
  • Fort Collins (3,808);
  • Thornton (3,296);
  • Greeley (3,219);
  • Westminster (2,987); and
  • Boulder (2,948).

Criminal charges for theft in Colorado

Like in many other states, porch pirates in Colorado face criminal charges of theft. The severity of theft penalties depends on the value of the stolen package or item. 

Penalties for misdemeanor theft in Colorado are as follows: 

  • Class 3 misdemeanor: The stolen item is valued at more than $50 but less than $300. Penalties include up to six months in jail and from $50 to $750 in fines. 
  • Class 2 misdemeanor: The stolen package or goods are worth at least $300 but no more than $750. Penalties include from three months to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. 
  • Class 1 misdemeanor: The stolen item is valued at $750 but does not exceed $2,000. Penalties include up to 18 months in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000. 

If the stolen package or item is worth more than $2,000, the defendant will be charged with felony theft. Felony theft is punishable by up to 12 years in jail, a fine of between $1,000 and $1 million, and from one to five years of parole, depending on the value of the stolen goods. 

Consult with an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney

If you were arrested for porch piracy or any other theft crime in Colorado, do not hesitate to seek legal help from an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney. A conviction of theft can ruin your life in an instant. In addition to criminal penalties, you could be fired, lose employment and housing opportunities, and face many other negative consequences. Schedule a free consultation with our Denver criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC to discuss legal defenses and options. Call our offices at (303) 635-6768.

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Porch pirates face serious criminal charges ranging from misdemeanor to a felony in Colorado.

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