NewsCovering Colorado


Police rely on community help in catching 'porch pirates'

Posted at 6:15 PM, Dec 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-09 16:09:24-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — It's supposed to be the season of giving.

Yet, with a crime impacting communities across the country, this time of year is evolving into the season of taking for some.

So-called "porch pirates" are taking the packages off of random porches and/or near front doors, leaving consumers without their purchase. News 5 found several user-generated doorbell surveillance videos to show it continues to happen in Colorado Springs.

Andrew McKee, a Colorado Springs resident, fell victim to porch pirates just this week. He told News 5 he didn't understand how someone could just take something that isn't theirs during the holiday season.

"It just mind boggled me how somebody could steal other kids' toys for Christmas," McKee said.

The theft spree had us wondering what police are doing to address the crime.

Lt. Jim Sokolik, public information officer for the Colorado Springs Police Department, said detectives benefit from having the video, but their work doesn't stop there. They're going to search for other available video and check with other people that may have saw something relevant.

"Even with that video, we really need the help of those neighbors too to say, 'Hey, I saw this car in the neighborhood.' Maybe they have a license plate. That's incredibly helpful to find these people," Sokolik said.

When asked, Sokolik said Springs Police doesn't have the resources to man random patrols around neighborhoods searching for porch pirates. When a call comes in, they'll respond.

However, that's not to suggest they're only being reactive here.

Sokolik touted the work of neighborhood watch groups across the city in cracking down on crime. He said the community approach is pivotal here too.

"It's not a matter of us randomly patrolling an area, because that's not cost-efficient or manpower-efficient for that investigation. But having that neighborhood watch, or having just your neighbors call, or yourself call saying, 'Hey, I was expecting a package. It didn't show up,'" Sokolik said. "Letting us know what's going on, I can't stress how important that is for us for being able to combat this crime."

Consumers now have a few more options to protect themselves from porch pirates.

Select online retailers offer a different shipping option, sending the package to a secure locker or other location instead of your front door. Should that not be an option, Sokolik suggested checking with a friend or neighbor to see if they can pick up the package for you.