Police credit addition of parking cameras at Arroyo Burro Beach
After the Santa Barbara County Parks Department installed security cameras in the parking lot at Arroyo Burro Beach, the Santa Barbara Police Department received fewer calls for service, Lt. Joshua Morton told the News-Press.
“When people see cameras up, it tends to deter activity,” he said Monday. “As soon as the cameras were installed, we saw a drop in criminal activity.”
Arroyo Burro, located at 2981 Cliff Drive in Santa Barbara and often called “Hendry’s Beach,” was the site of numerous car break-ins and credit-card thefts before the addition of the cameras.
Taking a quick look at 2020’s reports at the location, Lt. Morton saw 25 cases of theft.
So far, there have been five reports in 2021, most of which occurred prior to camera installation.
In February, Santa Barbara police noticed a high number of burglary calls at Hendry’s and requested that the county parks department quickly install the cameras.
Lt. Morton described the thieves as part of a “sophisticated ring.”
He noted that people tend to hide their valuables in their trunk after they park, which makes them a target. The burglars could be watching.
“People should not secure that property in the trunk of their car while they’re there. If you have to put them in your car, hide it before you go,” Lt. Morton said.
Better yet, he recommended beachgoers take their valuables with them and leave anything unnecessary at home.
“You don’t need your checkbook if you’re going to the beach,” he said.
Lt. Morton noted that the thieves may take a card or two out of someone’s car but leave the wallet, so beachgoers may not immediately notice.
Police have looked at store security cameras to find suspects as they attempt to use the stolen cards, but they’re hard to identify with face coverings.
Other public parking, such as gym lots, have also been sites of theft.
Law enforcement is actively working against the problem and reviews security footage as cases are reported.
The installation of the security cameras were part of a larger project by the county’s parks department, including accessible walkways and updated ranger station.