Theft of packages from porches is a Grinchly crime Sgt. Mike Robertson and his crime suppression unit are dedicated to nipping in the bud.

To that end, the unit deploys tempting packages in which are hidden GPS trackers that alert officers when someone takes the bait.

The merchandise is donated by local businesses, and small tracking devices are hidden in the packaging or on the merchandise. Packages are then placed in various places throughout Rancho Cordova.

The program has been in operation since before the holidays last year, and the unit redoubles its efforts around holiday time when more packages are being delivered.

Rancho Cordova’s five-officer crime suppression unit is funded by a community enhancement fund grant and takes a proactive approach to fighting crime, Robertson said. The bait package program acts as a deterrent to would-be thieves tempted by unattended goodies.

The unit has made arrests since the program began last year, but not many.

“A win for us is to have no packages taken, and arrest nobody,” Robertson said. He said other jurisdictions have contacted him about the program, but not all of them publicize it the way Rancho Cordova does.

Other deterrents for porch package theft include surveillance cameras, concierge services, drop boxes and some digital resources including Nextdoor, a message board app that helps peoploe share information about what’s going on in their neighborhoods.