ANTIOCH (CBS SF) – The shorthanded Antioch Police Department is enlisting the help of local garbage collectors and letter carriers tospot crime on city streets.

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Employees of the local trash collector, Republic Services Inc., as well as U.S. Postal Service employees have been given tips on how to act as effective witnesses to crimes. The program, dubbed “We’re Looking Out For You” aims to add some experience eyeballs looking out for the city’s 105,000 residents.

As part of the training, drivers received a list of questions designed to help them identity criminal activity, as well as a laminated copy of the police department’s non-emergency phone number.

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“It’s a huge resource multiplier for us,” said Lt. T. Brooks of the Antioch Police Department. “These are people who are actively engaged in the community and are actively participating in making Antioch a safer place.”

The police department isn’t encouraging anyone to take crime fighting into their own hands, but simply to keep an eye out for activities that seem out of the ordinary along their route.

According to the Bay Area News Group, as few as five patrols can be on duty within city limits during a given shift. The city has the funds to hire more than 100 officers, but is more than a dozen short due to difficulties getting candidates through the challenging hiring process. Even fully staffed, the department would be down about 25 officers from pre-recession staffing.

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