The understaffed Antioch Police Department has reached out to the city's garbage disposal provider as well as the U.S. Postal Service to help deter crime.
Garbage truck drivers and mail carriers have been given tips by police on how to be effective witnesses if they encounter crime while on their routes, according to The Mercury News.
"If you see something out of place -- and you know what it is -- we're just asking you to call," Lt. Tammany Brooks told dozens of workers before they hit the streets.
Drivers were given a laminated card with police dispatch's nonemergency phone number and a list of questions meant to focus witnesses' attention on specifics.
The initiative, called "We're Looking Out for You," is meant to act much like a Neighborhood Watch group.
"These (workers) know the neighborhoods like the back of their hands, so if they see suspicious activity, they can document it," City Councilman Tony Tiscareno told the newspaper.
Antioch is currently struggling with a staffing shortage in which 13 to as few as five cruisers are deployed per shift for 105,000 residents
Although the agency has the money for 102 police officers, it employs just 87 full-time officers because sthe application process is so rigorous.