Sentinel staff report–
Citrus Heights police are continuing to nab suspects with bait items deployed around the city, already making four felony bait arrests so far in 2019.
Lt. Chad Morris said a total of 98 felony bait arrests were made in Citrus Heights last year, with bait being deployed by police during the holidays as well as the rest of the year. The department’s latest bait arrests were announced on Tuesday, involving a man and woman who reportedly teamed up to steal an item that ended up being bait owned by the police department.
In a social media posting about the latest arrests, police described the pair as “prolific offenders,” with one on multiple dockets of probation for “a litany of theft and drug-related charges,” in addition to having three outstanding felony arrest warrants. The other suspect was also on multiple dockets of probation for vehicle theft, grand theft, burglary and other charges.
Police say about three-quarters of the suspects they’ve arrested with bait have had a prior felony on their record, and nearly 4-out-of-every-5 suspects have been on probation, parole, or supervised release at the time of the arrest. The majority have also committed a prior theft-related crime and have also had a prior drug-related arrest.
The department’s bait items are placed around the city and are equipped with tracking capability. Morris said the department “constantly strives” to change the type of bait and the methods used to deploy the items, with regular analysis of current crime trends being a key tactic the department uses to determine where to deploy bait.
The department has recently increased its announcements of bait arrests through its social media accounts, and is also known to post electronic messages around the city alerting the public — and would-be criminals — to the use of bait in the area. Although some question whether the program should be publicized, police say the publicity helps prevent crime.
“I initially shared in the same opinion as many of our citizens, with regards to ‘telling criminals’ we have bait in the area seeming a bit counterproductive,” Morris told The Sentinel in an email on Saturday. “However, it has been my experience that publicizing the presence of our bait makes thieves think twice about stealing.”
Since the bait program’s inception in mid-2016, police data shows nearly 250 arrests have been made.
“[U]ntil property crimes become non-existent, we will continue to bait the hook and take criminals to jail as many times as it takes,” said Morris. “At the end of the day, we much prefer thieves steal from us than burden one of our citizens.”
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