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An epidemic of porch pirates: We build the future by how we live in the present

Dr. Jim Denison is the CEO of Denison Forum.
His Daily Article and podcast globally reach over 160,000 subscribers. Dr. Denison guides readers to discern today’s news—biblically. He is the author of multiple books and has taught on the philosophy of religion and apologetics at several seminaries. Prior to launching Denison Forum in 2009, he pastored churches in Texas and Georgia. He holds a Ph.D and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jim and his wife, Janet, live in Dallas, Texas. They have two sons and four grandchildren.

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Category Culture

Porch piracy has been an escalating problem for years. You know how it works: a delivery service leaves a package on your porch which a thief sees before you do and takes it to their house before you can take it inside yours.

As you might imagine in these days of social distancing, more people than ever are having packages delivered to their homes. Everything from groceries to clothes to presents is being left on our porches. And everything left there is a target for porch pirates.

The other day, my wife went to our front door to bring inside some groceries that had been delivered. She noticed a man walking in front of our house who had been looking at the bags left on our porch. As soon as she went out to pick them up, he walked away quickly.

About eleven million homeowners reported having a package stolen in 2017; a different survey in 2018 found that almost a fifth of Americans said they had been such a victim.

Now a new study tells us even more about these thieves in our midst. In its research, few thieves attempted to disguise themselves. Neither fences, cameras, nor vehicles parked in the driveway seemed to deter them. Some appeared to be actually following delivery vehicles.

Some carried “dummy items” such as paperwork or packages to make them seem legitimate. In virtually every incident, a single person took the packages. In a third of the cases, there was also an accomplice who usually served as a getaway driver.

Especially disconcerting is the speed at which the thefts transpired. From start to finish, the researchers documented several that took less than thirty seconds to complete.

We build the future by how we live in the present

If I could speak to these thieves (and to every other sinner such as myself), I would offer two biblical reminders:

One: “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

Even if you think no one saw your sin, know that the Lord of the universe “knows everything” (1 John 3:20). We must all stand one day before him in judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Two: We build the future by how we live in the present.

Some people stealing packages these days may be especially desperate given the economic crisis we are facing. But compromising our character will cost us more tomorrow than it pays today (cf. James 1:13–15). Let’s make choices during the pandemic that will improve our lives and world when it is over.

James Clear noted: “Every action is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”

What type of person do you wish to become today?

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