Parcel Thefts up during Holiday Season
Have you had your postal deliveries stolen this holiday season? See some tips and other information below.
Postal Inspectors Investigating Parcel Thefts
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is asking the public to report thefts of parcels sent through the U.S. Mail. The reports may be made online using the mail theft reporting form found on the U.S. Postal Inspection Service website, or by calling the U.S. Postal Inspection Service toll free number 1-877-876-2455, select option 3.
Packages left by letter carriers have become an easy target for crooks that follow the letter carriers and pick up a package that has been left on the porch. Postal Inspector and Newark Division Spokesperson Josh Shandler advises, “Theft or possession of stolen mail is a federal offense, punishable by up to five years in federal prison and fines up to $250,000. Through crime prevention and investigative efforts Postal Inspectors have ensured public trust in the U.S. Mail for over 200 years.”
U.S. Postal Inspectors suggest the following tips to help keep your packages safe:
- Ask the Postal Service to hold your package for pickup at the Post Office.
- Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to retrieve your package after delivery.
- Use the Postal Service online tracking to track package for delivery date.
- Never send cash or coins in the mail. Use checks or money orders and make a note of the serial number in case of loss or theft.
The holiday season is a busy time for everyone, including criminals. As a result, Postal Inspectors are asking residents to report suspicious activity or suspicious persons near U.S. Postal Service vehicles or mailboxes by telephoning the Postal Inspection Service’s 24-hour National Law Enforcement Communication Center at 1-877-876-2455 (877-US-MAIL-5) and selecting option 2. The U.S. Postal Service offers a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person who commits mail theft.
Residents who observe suspicious persons loitering or following USPS vehicles should not approach the suspicious persons. Instead they are asked to safely obtain a detailed description of person and/or vehicle involved. Postal Inspectors are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The best crime is one that can be prevented and accordingly, Postal Inspectors will conduct crime prevention presentations to any interested citizen’s group. Examples include community associations, civic/social groups, businesses, schools, religious organizations, or other government agencies. Topics include identity theft, internet safety for children, mail theft and security, consumer fraud (scams involving lotteries, charities, job ads and check cashing) and suspicious packages.
Read more about the Postal Service’s busiest mailing day of the year, after the jump!
Postal Service’s Busiest Mailing Day
More Than 830 Million Pieces of Mail Delivered!
Yesterday marked the Postal Service’s busiest mailing day of the year, with more than 830 million pieces of mail entering the system. This represents an increase of more than 40 percent in the average daily volume of 583 million pieces of mail.
“Bring on the rush – we are ready to deliver,” said Patrick R. Donahoe, Deputy Postmaster General and Chief Operating Officer. “This isn’t just our busiest time of year – it’s our best time of year. Americans can count on the Postal Service to deliver their holiday gifts in time for Christmas as we have for the past 234 years.”
The Postal Service uses 192,000 vehicles to transport holiday mail, including 142,000 half-ton trucks. To help navigate mail movement around the world, staff at the National Operations Center are on “24-7” duty today and throughout the year.
Holiday shoppers have until Dec. 21 for First-Class Mail and Priority Mail items. For those last-minute shoppers, the Postal Service recommends Dec.23 as the last day to mail Express Mail packages.
One way customers can save time during the holiday shipping rush is by using Automated Postal Centers (APCs). Just as an ATM is a virtual bank, the APC is a virtual, stand-alone Post Office. The APC does everything short of face-to-face transactions ― dispensing stamps, weighing packages and calculating postage for Express Mail, Priority Mail, First-Class Mail and Parcel Post items. There are 2,500 APCs in Post Office lobbies across the country.
“APCs make visiting a Post Office easier,” Donahoe said. “It’s one more way we’re trying to save customers time waiting in line and offering another alternative to meet their mailing needs.”
Customers can also skip the trip to the Post Office completely and ship online using the Postal Service’s website, usps.com. Customers can print shipping labels, pay for postage and order free shipping supplies, including the popular Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes, virtually eliminating the need to weigh.
“Flat Rate Boxes are the ultimate gift box,” said Donahoe. “No matter what the gift, if it fits, it ships, for one low rate to any state in the country. We’ll even pick up your packages for free.”
Customers can request free package pickup online at usps.com. The Postal Service will pick up packages during regular mail delivery the next business day – and, unlike with other shipping companies, there is no fee for this service.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
Visit the Postal Service’s interactive holiday press room at usps.com/news. For holiday mailing reminders and shipping tips, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/holidayshipping.