Packages were reported stolen from front porches on the 1200 block of E Street NE on Oct. 29 and the 1200 block of I Street NE the following day. Overall theft in the district is up slightly in the past 30 days, compared with the same period last year. City crime data shows 223 thefts were reported Oct. 19 through Nov. 18, compared with 217 at the same time in 2013. Police did not immediately respond to an inquiry about data specific to mail theft.
Here’s what police advised this morning (Tuesday):
1. Get a tracking number from the shipping company.
2. Require a signature with the delivery.
3. If you won’t be home, have the company leave the package at a local shipping center.
4. Set up an obvious surveillance camera with your home security system.
5. If UPS is making the delivery, get onboard with their UPS. My Choice program, which sends an e-mail or text message to the customer just prior to package arrival; it will be rerouted if nobody is home.
6. Insist that the driver leave the package in an inconspicuous area.
7. Have the driver leave the package at your apartment’s or condo’s office.
8. Retrieve your mail as quickly as possible after delivery.
9. If you can’t retrieve it daily, have a trusted person get it.
10. If you’re traveling, have the post office hold your mail until you get back.
11. Never received mail you were expecting? Contact the sender to see if it was sent. If so, file a complaint with the post office. This also applies if the contents of mail are missing.
12. Bring your checks or money orders to a postal collection box (personally give it to a postal worker) for the delivery driver to pick up; don’t leave checks or money orders in your home mailbox.
13. Never leave packages outside your door.
14. Alert recipients of your packages as to when they are to expect them.
15. Insure any packages you send.
16. 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). If you observe a mail thief at work, call the local police immediately, and then call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455.
Along with notifying MPD, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service advises the following:
If you believe your mail was stolen, report it immediately to your local postmaster or nearest Postal Inspector. You’ll be asked to file a formal complaint using PS Form 2016, Mail Theft and Vandalism Complaint. By analyzing information collected from the form, Postal Inspectors may determine whether your problem is isolated or part of a larger mail theft problem in your neighborhood-and it may help Postal Inspectors locate and apprehend the thieves.
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 feel that you are a victim of a crime involving the mail, submit an on-line complaint at Report Mail Theft.
Photo via Flickr/chiotsrun