The Round Rock Police Department is accepting packages on behalf of its residents in December for Operation Front Porch.
As residents around the country buy their Christmas presents online,
they traditionally have to run the risk of having packages sit on their
doorsteps for hours - exposed to would-be thieves - before they can pick
That's why one Central Texas police force is allowing its headquarters to be the front porch for its residents.
In December, the Round Rock Police Department kicked off
"Operation Front Porch," which allows residents to send their packages
to the police department for safekeeping until they can pick it up.
Police Chief Allen Banks said they were thinking of the new approach this year, since thefts tend to spike around the holidays.
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"We're thinking outside the box about what we can do to help our community," Banks said. "It helps build trust and partnership."
The idea has not spread beyond a few small police
departments around the country. When asked about the initiative, San
Antonio Officer Douglas Greene said the idea was "pretty interesting,"
but that his department had never considered the idea.
San Antonio, like most cities across the country, sees a
rise in property crime around the holidays as people leave packages on
porches and newly purchased gifts in vehicles.
Greene said the department works with shopping centers across the city and urged shoppers to use caution.
In Round Rock, Banks said if police aren't bogged down
with theft reports, they're free to respond to more important calls,
which is the intent of the program.
"(Officers) are not having to take calls and report
stolen packages this way," Banks said. "If I can keep an officer free on
the street to handle priority calls, that's what I want to do. That's
The records department oversees the program. They accept
the packages sent to them and notify the families that they're ready for
Families are expected to stop by the department within
two days of the delivery and once they present their ID with a Round
Rock address, they can take their package home.
The program has already been in effect for a week, but
some residents are already taking advantage of it. Banks said the
department has received one package a day on average.
"I didn't know if it was going to work or not," Banks said. "It's starting to work and we're excited about it."
In fact, Banks said police are already planning to do
this next year, but starting the initiative in late November instead, in
time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
While the initiative is free of charge, police ask that
residents donate a new toy for their charity drive, Operation Blue
Any residents with questions about the program can call 512-218-5500 for more information.