Santa Maria police looking to catch porch pirates this holiday season

Posted at 7:01 PM, Dec 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-17 22:36:56-05

With Christmas soon upon us, many will be receiving packages in the mail but that also means porch pirates are out to see what they can score.

However, this year and for the past five years, the Santa Maria Police Department has implemented their porch pirate detail.

It consists of officers coordinating efforts with mail carriers and patrolling residential areas in both marked and unmarked cars, keeping an eye out for porch pirate thieves.

"We concentrate in extra patrol along with our patrol personnel that are in marked vehicles, addressing and driving by areas that have been experiencing thefts so that we can prevent, so to say, the Grinch that stole Christmas," said Ricky Arias, Beat Coordinator for the Santa Maria Police Department.

According to police, the north side of Santa Maria has experienced more package thefts this year but police say overall it has not been as busy as in the past.

Julie Martinez is a Santa Maria local and says she is happy to know police are being proactive this holiday season.

"I think that's a great idea to have unmarked cars, especially because I've dealt with having to call and witnessing someone do that to a neighbor," said Martinez.

For Martinez, knowing this detail is in place is a bit more personal as her husband and son both work for UPS.

"The fact that now I know there are unmarked cars and they maybe can keep an eye out for the safety of my husband and son who are delivering all these packages for the families that are excited to receive them for Christmas, that kinda gives me relief," said Martinez.

Santa Maria Police say packages can be taken anytime and encourage residents to monitor their packages with the tracking number to know when it is expected to arrive.

Those who are not home for extended periods of time can also have their packages delivered to family and friends or even to your workplace.

Santa Maria Police are also able to use the camera registry system through the city to request video surveillance from homeowners and businesses to potentially catch suspects committing crimes but still encourage residents to report any suspicious people or vehicles in their communities.