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Santa Maria police operation trying to prevent porch pirate theft

Operation Porch Pirate

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- The Santa Maria Police Department is once again trying to stop thieves from ruining the Christmas season.

For five years running, the department has made an effort to reduce holiday theft with "Operation Porch Pirate."

"It's happening, so we want to let them know that we're out here trying to eliminate the theft," said Officer Ricky Arias. "Our job is to go out and be proactive and try and catch the Grinch that stole Christmas."

The prevention enforcement program is operated by the SMPD's Community Service Unit.

"We have officers driving marked and unmarked vehicles following couriers and also are networking with couriers to find out where their problem areas are and where packages are taken," said Arias. "We want the bad guys to think twice before they commit these thefts and know that they could be watched and we want the homeowners and the recipient of these packages to know that we're out there trying to help them out."

The operation goes when time and resources allow and has been in effect a handful of times this month.

So far, no arrests have been made.

The police department annually publicizes Operation Porch Pirate through social media with the hope that it is a deterrent for crime.

"I love that Santa Maria PD is doing something like this," said resident Stefanie Henderson. "It blows my mind that people would want to wreck somebody else's Christmas to try to make theirs better when they don't even know what's in these packages."

On Tuesday, Henderson received a large package at her home.

She was there at the time of delivery, which SMPD recommends as the best way to prevent theft.

"Know when it's going to be coming and have a plan to have it with a neighbor or delivered to your work or have it held at the facility itself," said Arias.

Arias added another great way to help prevent crime and also help in the effort to capture thieves is to join the city's Surveillance Camera Registry program.

"Through the city website, you can register your house as having a camera in case we have a certain crime pattern in a certain area, we're able to look and see if there's a camera register in that area," said Arias. "In case that's the case, we can contact the homeowner if we're able to look at their surveillance footage in order to catch the bad guy."

Henderson has a Ring security system at her house. She appreciated the police adding the extra layers of security, especially during this time of year.

"It's nice to know that the police department is out in the community making themselves known so we all feel a little safer for the holiday season," said Henderson. "Porch pirates, find something else to do this holiday season. We all see it on the Ring system. We're watching. Santa Maria PD is watching and I feel that between the police department and our security systems and our neighbors that we'll crack down on this and they won't be able to do it anymore."

Article Topic Follows: Crime & Courts
porch pirate
santa maria police

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Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Dave, click here.


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