ROUND ROCK, Texas — The Round Rock Police Department is rolling out a new neighborhood crime fighting program.
December is a busy time for holiday deliveries, and it's prime time for thieves. Round Rock PD is launching Operation Front Porch in response to the nationwide trend of mail theft.
Officers hope Front Porch deters those who are looking to steal packages outside of homes. Instead of having packages left at their empty homes, residents are asked to ship holiday gifts to police headquarters on North Mays Street.
"That way they’re not stolen from your front porch, and they’re safeguarded and protected here,” said Chief of Police Allen Banks.
The city is seeing more of these thefts. There were 12 last year, which is up from eight the year before.
“One package stolen is way too many and so we want to try to help reduce any mail or package stolen thefts in our community,” Banks said.
The package will be stored in the media center and sorted alphabetically. A number of residents have already shown interested.
"You can't trust anybody these days," said resident Misty Oliver. "If I have bigger packages sent then, yes, I would actually prefer that they’re sent here rather than to where I live."
This is the first initiative of its kind in the city.
“There could be a police department somewhere that's doing it, we don’t know," Banks said. "It’s one of those things that we thought of what we can do to make a difference and continue to make the city a safe city, reduce those calls of service for our officers so they can take other high priority calls as well and so this is our first year. We’re going to see how it goes.”
Round Rock PD asks that participants also donate a gift or some money to Operation Blue Santa. Packages must also weigh less than 50 pounds.
So whether they're collecting toys for children in need or storing packages, for the Round Rock PD, building partnerships is the ultimate gift.
“We want to have a safe community and so just working with our community as a whole helps build that quality of life within our city,” Banks said.
Packages can be delivered until December 22. Residents can pick up deliveries Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.