Courtesy of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Dept.
Many local police departments have recently experienced an unusual number of calls for service regarding the theft of U.S. mail. Police always attempt to identify suspects involved in such thefts and to recover the property stolen from its citizens. Postal inspectors across the country also work hard to protect your mail, but with more than 100 million addresses for delivery, you can imagine the job can’t be done alone.
Criminal investigations of such thefts involve a multitude of resources to solve the crimes, but law enforcement also relies heavily on your participation to recover stolen mail and place closure on a case. Knowing that, officers would like to suggest several steps you can take in deterring these thefts.
Here’s what you can do to protect your mail from thieves and, thereby; reduce the number of thefts:
- Use the letter slots inside your post office for your mail or personally hand it to a letter carrier.
- Don’t leave your mail in your mailbox overnight. Pick it up promptly after delivery. If you’re expecting checks, credit cards or other negotiable items, ask a friend or neighbor you trust to retrieve your mail.
- If you don’t receive a check or other valuable mail you’re expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately, without delay.
- If you change your address, immediately notify your Post Office and anyone with whom you do business through the U.S. mail.
- Don’t send cash in the mail.
- Tell your Post Office when you’ll be out of town, so they can hold your mail until you return.
- Report all suspected mail thefts to the Sheriff’s Department and a Postal Inspector.
- Consider starting a neighborhood watch program. Exchanging work and vacation schedules with trusted neighbors and friends, you can watch each other’s mailboxes (and homes).
- Consult with your local Postmaster for the most up-to-date regulations on mailboxes, including the availability of locked centralized or curbside mailboxes.
If you witness a mail theft in progress, immediately contact your local police department and report the incident. Afterwards, contact the Postal Inspectors at 877-846-2455.