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Parma police announce new plan to combat porch pirates

The program is known as S.T.O.P., which stands for Stop Theft Of Packages.

PARMA, Ohio — Have you ever been the victim of a porch pirate? The Parma Police Department is launching a new initiative to deter porch piracy.

The initiative -- which is known as Stop Theft of Packages (S.T.O.P) -- was created by Ward Seven Councilwoman Kammy Shuman, who collaborated with the Parma Police Department, Parma Mayor Tim DeGeeter, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley, District 15 State Representative Jeff Crossman and other third-party delivery services.

The announcement comes as the number of packages being delivered will increase throughout the upcoming holiday season.

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“As we enter the holiday season, many consumers will rely on online shopping," Shuman said. "We typically see an increase of delivered parcels stolen from homeowners’ porches and front doorsteps starting this time of year. The GPS technology purchased from Assisted Patrol will help police track stolen packages and catch thieves."

Project S.T.O.P. uses GPS technology to track lost packages. The new system can also be added to a homeowner's video doorbell and security cameras by registering with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office.

“It’s important to note that the technology was purchased with Law Enforcement Trust Fund monies, so criminals are paying for this and not the taxpayers,” said Police Chief Joseph Bobak. “The device can also be used for other crime-fighting purposes, such as combating auto theft.”

So far, the city of Parma has had 27 porch pirate incidents this year.

“I appreciate the City of Parma taking this initiative and working with me at the State level to help deter porch piracy in Parma and across Ohio. This proactive initiative has directly resulted in legislation that I will be proposing at the Statehouse, concurrent with the rollout of the S.T.O.P. program," Crossman said. “Evidence shows that porch piracy is a growing problem across the country and, unless we work together at all levels to try and stop it, the problem will only grow worse.”