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Porch pirates could be met with bait packages in Sacramento this holiday season

"If an individual does steal that package, we can track it and conduct a criminal investigation," said Officer Ryan Woo.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Many people are taking advantage of online deals for Cyber Monday, but porch pirates could also be planning to take advantage of those plans.

Several police departments, including Sacramento Police Department and Citrus Heights Police Department, are taking a stand, protecting your packages and aiming to catch anyone who might steal it

"These are a lot of things that you're anticipating to give out as gifts, so if someone comes by and steals it, what you've worked hard for and planned for to give to someone else, it can be very disappointing to have that happen," said Officer Ryan Woo, with Sacramento Police Department.

The department is trying to curb this type of crime with its Bait Package Program.

"We are deploying packages and items that are trackable to residences in an area, so if an individual does steal that package, we can track it and conduct a criminal investigation, identify the people responsible," said Woo. 

The Citrus Heights Police Department is also warning porch pirates with a similar program baiting criminals. ABC10 asked to see video from the programs but both departments said it's part of ongoing investigations. 

Their theft prevention tips include: 

  • Consider installing a doorbell camera or other home security camera
  • Consider installing a porch lockbox
  • If possible, have a friend or neighbor collect any packages when you're not home
  • Schedule the delivery for when you will be home
  • Schedule delivery to a storefront location or package locker

We also reached out to FedEx, UPS, Amazon, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. With most of these, people are able to track their package up until it's delivered.  

FedEx Delivery Manager customers have the added ability to provide specific delivery instructions for drivers. 

Meanwhile, Amazon offers a service that allows Prime members to receive deliveries in the safety of their garage. 

With USPS, people can have their mail held at their local post office. 

Sacramento police are warning criminals to think twice before they rob someone during the holiday season.

"You could be facing charges, and also the human element of it is that you're taking a gift away from someone else that might be someone's Christmas present. I would say it's not worth it to steal a package," said Woo. 

Police said you can report a theft by calling their non-emergency line at 916-808-5471 or by filing a report online. They also ask that people turn in any surveillance video or ring video, so it can help catch the thieves. 

Amazon Tips

In addition to their 24/7 customer service, Amazon also suggest the following resources to make sure your order makes it to the right hands.

  • Order tracking - which includes delivery windows and map tracking
  • Amazon Day - A feature that allows a designated day for delivery
  • Amazon Key In-Garage Delivery - Deliveries to your garage
  • Pick-up Options - Locations available HERE.


The United States Postal Inspection Services has the following advice to help deter package theft.

  • Promptly pickup mail
  • Deposit mail close to pickup time
  • Inquire about overdue mail
  • Don't send cash
  • Arrange for prompt pickup
  • Use Hold for Pickup
  • Request signature confirmation
  • File a change of address

FedEx Tips

FedEx provided the following advice in response to an inquiry from ABC10.

Every day, in every United States ZIP code, FedEx is connecting communities around the country by making deliveries to doorsteps.

All year long we work with our drivers and service providers to be aware of their surroundings and report any unusual activities. FedEx Express and Ground residential customers are now able to see picture proof of a completed delivery for packages that do not require signature. FedEx Delivery Manager customers also have the added ability to provide specific delivery instructions for drivers and take advantage of options to hold or redirect the package to a retail location, like FedEx Office. Any customer who suspects that a package has been stolen should contact police.

We also support federal legislation known as the Porch Pirates Act that would establish a consistent set of penalties for theft of packages nationwide


Elk Grove police launch new bait package program to deter porch pirates

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