Post Office Drive through Boxes locked between 7 p.m.-7 a.m.
By Terry Miller
Trying to mail a holiday card or a bill? Simple advice, don’t use Post Boxes. Take your letter inside the Post Office.
In recent months many area postal boxes have been tampered with resulting in serious losses not only for residents but also for the Post Office itself.
It has been reported that thieves have devised ways to collect stamped mail from unsuspecting postal customers who intended the letter go to a different recipient.
The trend is particularly bad during the holidays where a mail thief may attach double sided tape to a long piece of cardboard and insert into a box and retrieve whatever mail they can. There are numerous tricks these criminals use but suffice to say, your mail is, sadly, no longer safe in a mail box.
Stacia Crane of the US Postal Service told Monrovia Weekly that The Postal Service has been replacing collection boxes in problem areas with anti-theft boxes which eliminate the drop-down door.
Boxes with snorkel shoots used in drive-up locations are having the snorkel shoots capped off and locked after the final collection and reopened the next morning. Also, boxes that are continuously targeted for theft and vandalism are being relocated or taken out of service. Criminals are constantly moving their illegal activities making it difficult to determine where they will strike next.
The best preventative measure is to continue to educate customers on secure mail practices, especially to place their outbound mail in collection boxes before the final pick-up on the same day of deposit.
Postal Inspectors across the country work hard to protect your mail. But with deliveries to more than 100 million addresses, the Postal Inspection Service can’t do the job alone. Here’s what you can do to protect your mail from thieves:
-Use the letter slots inside your Post Office for your mail, or hand it to a letter carrier.
-Pick up your mail promptly after delivery. Don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight. If you’re expecting checks, credit cards, or other negotiable items, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail.
-If you don’t receive a check or other valuable mail you’re expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately. -If you change your address, immediately notify your Post Office and anyone with whom you do business via the 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 theft to a Postal Inspector at 877-876-2455.
-Consider starting a neighborhood watch program. By exchanging work and vacation schedules with trusted friends and neighbors, you can watch each other’s mailboxes (as well as 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 see a mail thief, please call the police immediately and postal inspectors at (877) 876-2455