Santa Maria Police Officer Jeff Lopez has been on the force for more than 20 years and seen his share of similar crime sprees come and go.
“These guys are kind of brazen, to come out here and do these armed robberies one after the other in the same city”, says Lopez as he drives down Broadway through the heart of Santa Maria on patrol, “I know Broadway is a busy thoroughfare for the city, you just want people to see you, you want to be out and be proactive, you want them to know, especially with activities like this, that you want to be seen where most of the activity can occur.”
Lopez says the recent spate of armed robberies has him and his fellow patrol officers keeping a closer watch on the streets, especially later at night.
“I know a lot of people say there’s never an officer around when you need him, but again no one can predict the future”, Lopez says, “our best bet is to go out there and hit these streets hard and let these people and let the community know that we are out there trying to prevent these kind of crimes from reoccuring.
Lopez says part of the strategy is for SMPD to take a more visible, higher profile approach by reaching out to late night business owners and workers.
“The best way is to provide the extra patrols, encourage the community at any of these places, that are open during these hours, to call the police to report any suspicious activity”, Lopez says, “its not a one way street, we depend on the community.”