Preventing Porch Piracy

Preventing Porch Piracy

You may not be familiar with the term “porch pirates” but it’s a pretty good bet that either you or someone you are close to has been a victim of one. 

A porch pirate is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a term that refers to someone who spots a delivery package on your porch or near your front door. Rather than ignore the recent delivery, they walk up to your front door and take it for themselves. Once they’re safely away from your home, they’ll open the package, if it’s something valuable they’ll either keep the item or sell it. If it’s not something they’re interested in, they’ll throw it away. Either way, you’re the one who loses out.

The increasing dependency on online shopping and delivery services has driven porch piracy incidents to all-time highs. According to Finder, 14% of Americans are victims of porch piracy during a twelve-month period. That means 35.5 million people have a package snatched from their homes. The estimated value of each incident is $156.82. 

The good news is that you can take some steps to prevent yourself from being a local porch pirate’s next victim.

Take Advantage of Tracking Notifications

Most online businesses provide free online tracking for your packages. You’ll want to utilize these. You can often set the system up so you a text is sent directly to your phone. In some cases, you’ll see approximately what time the package is scheduled to arrive and even how many stops before the driver is at your door. 

If you’re home, you can use this information to meet the delivery at your door. If you’re not home, you can see if a neighbor, or another trusted person, can pick up your package before it’s noticed by a passing porch pirate.

Have the Package Held at a Different Location

If you’re concerned about a package being stolen, see if the delivery service has an option that lets you have the package delivered to a local drop-off point. More shipping companies have started doing this in an effort to limit liability and cost issues connected to porch piracy. In most cases, a local business serves as a drop-off point. They hold the package until you’re able to fetch it.

Consider a Lockbox

A lockbox is a great way to deter porch pirates. You can install the mailbox in an area that’s easily accessed by delivery drivers. They deposit the package into the lockbox which hides the delivery until you get home. 

Security Cameras

Security cameras and doorbell security cameras are becoming increasingly more affordable for the average person. They are also a great way to deter porch pirates. If someone does try to sneak on your porch and steal one of your packages, you can turn the footage of the porch pirate to the police who may be able to identify the person so you can press charges. Even if the police can’t get an identity from the video footage, they will learn the approximate time that the porch pirate operates in your area and may be able to arrange to have a patrol car in the area so they can arrest the thief red-handed.

What steps have you taken to deter porch pirates?

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Most Common Reasons People Are Arrested During the Holiday Season

Most Common Reasons People Are Arrested During the Holiday Season

The holidays are here. For most of us, that means spending time with friends and family members we love. This is a time when we make good memories and spread love.

Unfortunately, not all of us will enjoy the holiday season. Some studies indicate that crime rates increase during the holiday season. There are a few different reasons for the surge of crime. First, people have time off work which gives them more time to get into trouble. Second, many people who don’t usually overindulge will often misjudge how much alcohol they’ve consumed. The increased alcohol content lowers inhibitions and results in them doing things they’d never have considered if they were sober. The third reason crime rates increase during the holiday season is because money is often tight.

Police have noticed that there are certain crimes that surge more than others during the holidays.

Drunk driving offenses are always a problem during the holidays. People get together and want to have a good time which often involves alcohol. The problem is that many don’t plan to spend the night where they are drinking and fail to have a DD at the ready so they slide behind the wheel and ultimately get caught driving while intoxicated. 

The best way to make sure you aren’t charged with a DUI this holiday season is to only drink while you’re home, always having a DD at the ready, or arranging to take a cab/Uber home. If you aren’t sure you’ll be able to get yourself home safely, stay away from the alcohol. Staying sober might not seem like fun, but it beats spending a night in jail and dealing with the fallout of a drunk driving arrest.
Retailers report that shoplifting increases during the holiday season. This is likely due to the fact that some people find themselves short of money and unable to purchase gifts for their families. If you’re contemplating stealing a gift this holiday season, please reconsider. Store managers are going to be on the lookout for sticky fingers and with more stores installing elaborate video surveillance systems, the odds of you getting away with the theft are small. Instead of trying to steal a gift, consider making a homemade present.

Domestic violence arrests also increase during the holiday season. There are likely a few different reasons for this. First, stress over finances and strained family relationships can push some people over the edge. Second, people are often home rather than working and the increased contact can result in some pushed buttons. Third, having family and friends around can encourage the victim to report the violent acts which they may not have felt they could do in the past.

Recognizing that emotions run high during the holidays, it’s in your best interest to recognize when your temper is getting short and remove yourself from the situation before you react with violence. It’s better to take a walk or go for a long drive than to get arrested for domestic violence during the holidays.

Stay safe this holiday season!

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What to Do if Your Neighbor’s Christmas Decorations are Over the Top

What to Do if Your Neighbor’s Christmas Decorations are Over the Top

The holiday season is here. For many of us, that means breaking up the average, boring scenery with decorations that depict your favorite part of the holiday. Most of us love seeing how creative our neighbors are and will even sometimes engage in holiday decoration contests where you try to see who can upstage whom.

For the most part, holiday decorations are fun and everyone enjoys them but there are always exceptions. Sometimes a neighbor will go too far and instead of being a source of joy, the holiday decorations are actually an annoyance. 

It’s important to know how to respond when your neighbor’s holiday decorating goes too far.

The first thing you should do is remind yourself that the holiday season is relatively short. The odds are good that the decorations will only be up for a few weeks. Try to decide if this is something that you really can’t live with for the short term.

If the decorations are really driving you crazy, have a friendly chat with your neighbor to discuss the situation. Explain exactly what the problem is and ask if they think there is a way you can compromise. If it’s a case of the flashing lights or sound effects keeping you up at night, maybe they will agree to turn off the problem decorations at an earlier time in the evening.

If they have decorations you simply find offensive, maybe you can convince your neighbor to move that particular item to a different part of their property where you don’t have to see it.

When meeting with your neighbors about their decorating, you must be prepared to compromise. It took a great deal of time to plan and set up the decorations which they obviously love. They won’t be willing to undo all of that hard work. When you’re willing to compromise, rather than simply making demands, your neighbor will be more willing to consider your side of things.

If the issue isn’t the decorations themselves, but rather the sheer amount of traffic the elaborate display is attracting, you can contact the police and ask them to patrol the area which will encourage traffic to continue moving.

Good luck and enjoy the holiday season!

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California’s Drug Diversion Program

California’s Drug Diversion Program

Drugs are a serious problem in California. They are one of the main sources of criminal activity which is why California lawmakers are exploring ways that they can reduce the number of drug addictions in the state. The California Drug Diversion Program is a huge part of the state’s attempt to help those who are dealing with serious drug addictions.

The program is designed to provide individuals who have been charged with either using drugs or being in possession of drugs with an option to seek help rather than facing jail time and hefty fines. To be eligible for the program, the individual must not have been involved in a violent crime.

For most people who are facing drug possession charges, the most appealing thing about the program is that it provides them with the means to potentially avoid spending time in jail. The way this works is that the defendant has to express a genuine desire to successfully participate in the program. If the judge is willing, they will defer the jail sentence until the defendant either completes the program or drops out of it. 

Not serving jail time for a drug possession charge enables the defendant to continue doing things that allow them to improve their life. For example, as a program participant, you’ll be free to continue pursuing your schooling and work. You may even be able to hide the news of your recent arrest from some of your friends and family members.

If the defendant fails to complete the program, they will have to serve the original sentence.

The second-best thing about participating in the program is that it provides you with the means to erase the drug possession incident from your record. Once you’ve successfully completed the program, which takes a year, the drug possession charge will be removed from your record. This is a great deal since that single drug possession charge could have come back to haunt you whenever you applied for a job, loan, state license, etc.

If the program works, when you complete it, you should have overcome your drug addiction and be able to enjoy a clean life and no longer have to constantly worry about things like random drug tests or the police searching your car when you’re pulled over for speeding.

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California Vehicular Manslaughter Law

California Vehicular Manslaughter Law

Vehicular manslaughter is a crime that terrifies most drivers. The thing about vehicular manslaughter is that it’s the type of crime that’s done completely without intent and often happens during a split moment of inattention.

According to the law, vehicular manslaughter in California happens when a driver drives in a manner that’s either negligent or unlawful. As a direct result of the driver’s actions, another person is killed. A driver can be charged with vehicular manslaughter if the fatality occurred in a different car, if it was a passing pedestrian, or even if it was a passenger who was sharing the car with the driver.

One of the issues that makes vehicular manslaughter such a challenging crime in California is that there is almost a sliding scale that’s used to determine just how at fault the driver was which plays a huge role in the legal consequences of their actions.

When dealing with a vehicular manslaughter case, the prosecution has to look at many things including factors such as weather, visibility, and the history of that area (is there a high rate of accidents at the location) and the driver’s history while they put together a case.

One of the first things the prosecution does is decide if you acted with gross negligence or ordinary negligence. This determines whether you’re charged with felony vehicular manslaughter or misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in California.

Two examples of gross vehicular manslaughter in California would be getting involved in a fatal accident while intoxicated or knowingly driving a vehicle that had faulty brakes.

Examples of normal negligent vehicular manslaughter in California would be failing to notice a traffic sign and getting into an accident. This may change to gross negligence if your driving history indicates that you routinely ignore traffic signs or the rules of the road.

In both cases, the only way the court can secure a guilty conviction for vehicular manslaughter in California is by proving that you caused the accident.

If you’re convicted of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter the maximum sentence you’ll face is up wot a year in a county jail. It’s possible that the judge will include probation and fines to the sentence. You may lose your driving privileges as well. 

A guilty conviction of felony vehicular manslaughter in California carries a maximum sentence of six years in a state prison.

In addition to legal consequences, the victim’s family will likely pursue a civil case which names you as a defendant.

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