By Mike Hazlip—
Citrus Heights police are getting the word out to would-be thieves that there’s a 24/7 bait program in place to catch criminals during the holidays.
Lt. Wesley Herman told The Sentinel in an email Wednesday that the program is designed to deter theft using a wide range of items. The items contain electronic tracking systems and can be deployed in various locations, he said. Police have also deployed bait vehicles to deter vehicle theft.
Herman called the program a “force multiplier” by operating autonomously around the clock. Police are able to monitor the bait items remotely and respond quickly once an item is stolen.
Established in 2016, the program resulted in 35 felony arrests in its first year, according to Herman. There were well over 100 felony arrests in the program’s next year.
Of the felony arrests the program netted in 2017, 80 percent were on probation, parole, or post-release community supervision, according to Herman. Over 70 percent had a prior felony conviction, and more than 60 percent had a prior arrest for a violent crime. About 76 percent had committed a prior theft-related crime, and more than 60 percent had drug related criminal activity, Herman said.
“Our goal is to prevent theft overall through the public awareness campaign we’ve deployed on our social media,” Herman said. “However, if that doesn’t deter every thief, we always say we would rather have a criminal steal our property rather than the community’s.”