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Westchester County Police Department Getting Creative In Fight Against Porch Pirates

HAWTHORNE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- An undercover operation out of Westchester County aims to deter porch pirates this holiday season.

It involves fake packages and mope than two-dozen police departments, CBSN New York's Tony Aiello reported Thursday.

It's a holiday hassle all across the Tri-State Area -- boxes delivered to homes at risk of being snatched right off the doorstep.

"That's not right at all. I would be so upset if someone was stealing my packages off my porch," said Carmen Cruz of Yonkers.

That's why the Westchester County Police Department teamed up with close to 30 local law enforcement agencies to catch porch pirates in the act, employing some trickery by planting almost 50 fake packages around the county.

"We have tracking devices we put in the packages. So if a porch pirate does take the package, what happens is an alarm goes off, we can track it here. We've made five arrests this season," Westchester PD Chief John Hodges said.

FLASHBACK: Brea Engineer Gets Revenge On Porch Pirates With Glitter Bomb

When one of those packages is moved, an alarm will sound in the department's Real Time Crime Center. Police are able to follow its location on a map and dispatch local officers.

"Instead of shoplifting from a store, it's real easy to jump up on someone's porch and take a package that's been delivered. So we adapted our methods and we are doing our best at crime prevention," Mount Pleasant Police Department Chief Paul Oliva said.

As a result, Mount Pleasant has made one arrest so far, while the Yonkers Police Department has made four.

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To spread the word, the Yonkers PD combined a number of residential Ring videos and put it to the "Grinch" theme song. But the message police hope to get across is much more serious.

"We think that operations like this will also have, not only making arrests, but have a big deterrent effect," Hodges said.

Police recommend you have a neighbor pick up your package if you know you won't be home, require a signature so it's not delivered to the door, or get it delivered to your office.

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