Even though the holidays have come and gone, the United States Postal Service and package delivery companies are still hard at work. Mail and packages are being delivered every day of the week.
However, many people do not share the same excitement they once did when expecting a special letter or order. Instead, we’re now anxious if our deliveries will even arrive at all. With package and mail theft on the rise, people are left to wonder if they’ll be the next victim.
Even though postal carriers aren’t being replaced by drones yet, the lack of human witnesses make packages and mail an easy score for thieves. Are we left with nothing to do but cross our fingers and hope nothing gets snatched? Of course not. There are many helpful tips you can use today to ensure your mail and packages are safely delivered.
Safeguard Your Mail
You receive a variety of mail on a daily basis, such as newsletters, bills, credit card offers, and more. However, there are times when you’re expecting a delivery that’s a little more special. Mail thieves won’t make this distinction though, taking what they can get. In order to keep your mail and the contents inside safe, consider following these practices:
- If you can avoid it, do not send or receive cash by mail. Checks and money orders are much safer since only the person it’s assigned to can use it. Unfortunately, anyone can use cash, and there’s no way of getting it back once it’s gone.
- Even if you don’t feel like getting out of the house for a few days, you at least need to make the trek to your mailbox when the postal carrier arrives. The longer your mail stays outside, the more likely someone’s going to take it. It’s also a good idea not to leave mail overnight in your mailbox.
- Install a home security camera to keep an eye on your mailbox. This will definitely make thieves think twice about stealing your mail if they know they’re being recorded. If your deliveries are stolen anyways, then you’ll have video evidence of the culprit and can press charges.
- If your mailbox is easily accessible, consider investing in a mailbox with more anti-theft features, such as password protection or a locking system.
- Whenever you leave town for an extended period of time, put a hold on your mail so its not waiting outside for several days. Full mailboxes gives thieves a definite sign that no one’s home and may prompt them to steal even more of your belongings.
Protect Your Packages
With the advent of Amazon, ordering and sending packages has never been easier. Unfortunately, thieves know this too and keep a lookout for people’s doorsteps. Grabbing an unattended delivery is a quick win for these criminals since chances are small of getting caught in the act. However, there are things you can do to protect your packages before they can lay a single finger on them:
- Keep an eye on where your package is by tracking it online. When you know the location and estimated time of arrival for your delivery, make plans in advance to be home so you can retrieve it once it’s there.
- If the day your package is delivered is a day you won’t be home, redirect your package — even if it’s in transit — to a different address. You can also send it to your local post office and pick it up later. Better yet, reschedule its delivery on a day you know you’ll be home.
- Don’t send a package to your address if you’re not home very often. If left alone, your delivery won’t be alone for very long. Send it to an address where you know you’ll be, such as your place of work. If someone you know and trust is home more often than not, ask them if you can send your order to their address and pick it up later.
- If you feel more comfortable having a package delivered to your home, even on the off chance you’re not there, you can go online and leave specific instructions on how you want your package delivered. Maybe you want it behind a bush so it’s not in plain view. However you want your package handled, you can notify your local post office or package carrier so they can place it where you want.
- Request your packages to be signed upon delivery. If you don’t happen to be there when it’s ready, you won’t worry that your order will be left unattended.
- Consider purchasing a parcel locker for carriers to place your packages in. If you want to make your own or upcycle one, make sure it’s made out of a sturdy material and that you look at a variety of locker locks so that your containment unit is as secure as possible.
Always Report Mail Theft
If you do become a victim of mail theft, do not let it go unreported. If thieves know people won’t do anything if their deliveries are stolen, nothing will prevent them from doing it over and over again. File a report either on the phone or online to the service in charge of your delivery as well as to the police.
This will not only help you but help the authorities discover any patterns to allow them to locate the perpetrator. Mail theft is considered a felony and can land a person in prison up to 5 years with a possible $250,000 fine as well. If you have video footage of the crime in action, release it to the proper authorities so they may identify the criminal.
Make sure to alert your neighbors to the theft also so they can be aware of the situation and take the proper steps to protect their deliveries. You may also receive a refund of your stolen property by alerting the merchant or delivery carrier of the theft.
No one should have to worry if their delivery will be in its proper place when coming home. Unfortunately, mail theft is a serious reality that many people face. We can’t expect our packages and mail to be there if left alone for too long.
However, even though incidents of mail theft are increasing, you don’t have to be the next victim. By following the practices listed above, you can be sure your deliveries will be waiting for only you.