BOARDMAN CAT used to combat auto theft
As of July 31, 132 vehicles had been reported stolen in the township this year.
BOARDMAN -- Police have launched a program aimed at curbing car theft.
The Combat Auto Theft, or CAT, program has been successful in other communities throughout the country in reducing the number of automobile thefts, police said.
Between 15 and 20 cars are reported stolen in the township each month. Last year 214 cars were stolen in Boardman, with 236 reported stolen in 2003.
As of July 31, there have been 132.
Locally, the most frequently stolen car is a mid-80s to 90s GM product, but all cars are vulnerable to auto theft.
Under the CAT program, owners voluntarily register their cars with the police. By registering, they provide police with identifying information on their cars, the owners and additional authorized drivers.
They also sign an agreement, authorizing police to stop their cars any time they're found to be operated between 1 and 5 a.m. Owners also affix a special CAT decal to the inside of the rear window, visible to police on patrol, identifying their cars.
An officer who finds a car displaying the CAT decal being driven during the overnight hours will stop the car to verify it's being operated by the owner or an authorized driver and that it hasn't been stolen.
While cars have been stolen at all hours of the day and night from commercial areas, many are stolen overnight from driveways and apartment complex parking lots.
Cars stolen at other times of the day are often driven by the thieves late at night or early in the morning, police said.
The CAT program originated about 20 years ago in New York City and spread to parts of California and the Pacific Northwest. It's been adopted statewide in Arizona and Florida and has been endorsed by motor clubs and insurance companies.
Township residents who want to participate in the program or who want more information should contact Kim Kotheimer, crime prevention officer, at (330) 726-4150, Ext. 1262, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.