PIQUA — This week, the Piqua Police Department announced a plan to put out a bait package to track anyone who may try stealing packages from people’s porches this holiday season.
The police department obtained tracking equipment to allow them to track shipping packages left on a porch — or anywhere else visible to the public — after they have been stolen as part of their new theft deterrence program.
“We know our citizens appreciate some of our previous decoy efforts, and we think we will find some citizens that will want to participate with this program,” Piqua Chief of Police Bruce Jamison said.
There have been a couple of packages reported stolen from outside residences so far this holiday season. A resident advised a package had been taken from the 1100 block of Scudder Street on Nov. 30 at 11:20 a.m. There was also a report of a package stolen off of a porch on the 1000 block of Nicklin Avenue sometime between Nov. 29-30.
This tracking device is new to the police department, but they have targeted hot spots for stolen packages with different tactics in the past, such as doing video surveillance.
The police department is encouraging residents to share the existence of this bait package as they want it to serve as a deterrent to the “porch pirates” who spread the opposite of holiday cheer in Piqua, Jamison said. The police department is hopeful it will make people decide that they should not steal packages off porches in Piqua.
“That’s the main purpose,” Jamison said.
Piqua residents who would like to “host” a decoy package for the police department are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements. The police department is likely to target areas where thefts are occurring, so they would like to have a database of potential hosts around the city.
“We’ve already had 24 people volunteer,” Jamison said. “We’ll be able to hit every section in town.”
Jamison said that the police department will be putting out this bait package every day between now and Christmas, and they also plan to use the package even after the holiday season.
“We’ll continue this year-round,” Jamison said.
The police department also suggested the following tips to help prevent stolen packages:
• Install video surveillance and warning signs where packages are delivered
• Consider installing a “parcel box” to accept deliveries, then be locked
• Schedule packages to arrive when someone is home
• Send packages to a secure location rather than leaving them unattended
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