RIVERSIDE – U.S. Postal Service officials are recommending that Inland Empire residents take a few extra precautions this holiday season to ensure the safe receipt and delivery of packages and to protect against mail theft.
Postal Service spokeswoman Kemie Green said the agency anticipates carrying 15 billion items – from cards to boxes – throughout the country between now and Christmas. Some of those deliveries will be in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, where postal theft has been on the rise.
Green said postal inspectors are working “around the clock’” to keep shipments safe, but they also need shippers and receivers to help in any way they can.
According to the Postal Service, any of the following options should be considered during the holiday season, and beyond, to protect envelopes and packages.
Arrange to have packages delivered to neighbors if there’s no one available at the point of delivery. A package’s address can be changed while in transit, using Postal Service’s package intercept, if the sender learns that no one will be home on arrival day.
Also, deliveries can be customized online, giving senders and receivers the ability to specify exactly where to leave a package before it’s delivered, using Postal Service’s delivery instructions.
Consider placing a “hold for pickup” request at the local post office, keeping all shipments at the facility until the recipient is ready to retrieve them and use signature services, including registered mail, to secure handling of items, documenting the chain of custody.
In the past few months, Riverside County sheriff’s officials have repeatedly advised residents to take precautions to deter mail theft, such as using locked boxes and paying attention to individuals who may be loitering in residential areas, possibly to swipe mail.
In the last year, multiple people have been prosecuted both at the county and federal level for mail theft, often a path to identity theft.
The postal inspector’s office handles mail theft-related complaints and can be reached at (877) 876-2455.
More information about holiday shipping is available online at www.usps.com/holidaynews.