Bellevue police have seen a sharp rise in mail thefts this month compared to last year. Investigators fear that could only get worse as federal COVID-19 relief checks begin to hit mailboxes. This month there has been a 141% increase in mail theft reports compared to April 2019.
“There’s more incentive than ever for thieves to target mailboxes, but you don’t have to be at their mercy. There are many precautions you can take to protect yourself,” said Captain Joe Nault.
- Make sure you have a locking mailbox with the sturdiest lock you can get.
- Don’t let mail sit in your mailbox. Mail theft is a crime of opportunity; remove the mail, so there’s nothing to take. Find out your mail delivery time and immediately pick up the mail.
- Sign up for USPS Informed Delivery. This free service allows you to digitally preview your mail and track packages. https://informeddelivery.usps.com/box/pages/intro/start.action.
- When ordering merchandise, track packages, and be home when they are delivered.
- Work with neighbors to pick up each other’s packages if you must be away.
- Send outgoing mail at the post office or deposit close to pick up time.
- If you can’t pick up your mail, use Hold for Pick Up through USPS https://www.usps.com/.
“Everyone needs to be vigilant about picking up their mail, making sure their box is secure and watching out for suspicious activity in your neighborhood,” warns Nault. “Our officers have made several arrests recently because neighbors were alert and immediately called us when they saw something off. We all need to look out for each other.”
Most of the mail theft reports have come online (http://bit.ly/3cEIIms), which is appropriate if the theft has already occurred. If the theft is in progress or very recent, call 911 so officers can investigate. You can also report mail or package theft to the U.S. Postal Inspector https://www.uspis.gov/report/.
“If you sign up for the Informed Delivery or tracking services, you should have a better idea of what’s in your mail. Pick your mail up immediately and report any mail theft. We want everyone to report so we can track it, investigate it and arrest those responsible,” said Captain Nault.