Package thefts decrease following bait program in Campbell

CAMPBELL (KRON)—The Campbell Police Department is having some success with a program meant to trick people who try to steal packages from doorsteps.

A post office is a safe place to receive your packages, but all too often, the ones that arrive on porches get stolen. That’s why police are using GPS as a deterrent.

The excitement of getting a delivery at your door can easily be erased by a thief who jumps at opportunity. That’s why Campbell police are giving *bogus opportunities for thieves to catch them in the act, bait packages, tracked by GPS.

“We have a successful bait bike program, we were having a lot of bike thefts so we put these GPS units in bicycles and we figured why not try to reduce package thefts?” said Captain Joe Cefalu of the Campbell Police Department.

Before Cyber Monday, investigators contacted random Campbell residents and got permission to send them bait packages.

They’re even thinking one step ahead of criminals who think they can grab an item and ditch the tell-tale tracker.

“They’ll be merchandise in the box, just like Amazon or any other delivery, so there will be a piece of actual merchandise that has a value in it,” Cefalu said.

They’ll have no way of knowing if they have a normal item or a baited one.

So far, police haven’t made any arrests because of the GPS program, but it’s still working like a charm.

The number of thefts has gone down in just a couple weeks.

“If we can prevent a package from being stolen at all, then that would be preferred,” Cefalu said.

Outside a Campbell post office, KRON4 found several people who use a P.O. Box for anything larger than standard mail.

“I just feel like it’s safer because, um, I don’t like packages delivered in front of my place because I feel like people could just take it,” said Katrina Pebenito.

Campbell police also put out a YouTube video giving suggestions of ways to protect your deliveries.

“A simple thing to do would be to utilize tracking,” one officer in the video said. “This way you’ll be able to narrow down a time frame when a package will be delivered.”

The less time your box is in plain sight, the more likely it will end up under the Christmas tree.

Other things you can do are arrange for a signature upon receipt of your package or tell the delivery service to place boxes at a side door or gate.

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