Mail Theft on the Rise | What to Do and Not Do to Avoid Theft

Mailboxes at the curb make it easy for thieves to steal mail and packages

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | | Brian Solinsky, Acting Chief of Police, gives a warm greeting

It’s a crime of opportunity that the South Pasadena Police Department is aware of, especially during the holiday season.

Mail theft is on the rise and local authorities have some tips to help prevent future incidents of the crime.

Acting South Pasadena Police Chief Brian Solinsky recommends telling a neighbor to be on the lookout for packages being delivered to a front porch.

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“I know that Amazon has lockers where they give you a combination and you can pick it up at a later time,” he said. “I think the closest one for us is in Alhambra, so it’s convenient.”

Another option, said Solinsky, is to have items dropped off at “your workplace, or where ever you’re going to be for the day.”

According to SPPD Officer Richard Lee, mail thieves are primarily looking for checks. “The hope to alter them and cash them,” he said. “Thieves also look for personal information to steal for identity theft purposes like opening a credit card or cell phone account.

Added Solinsky: “Package thefts, unfortunately, are a common occurrence nowadays. We have to do everything we can to combat that. Our department does take action every year in which we hold special operations. I don’t want to get too much into that because of trade secrets. But we have taken measures to help cut down the number of thefts in our town. We’re continually trying to combat it.”

The acting police chief said there were a 11 million reported stolen packages last year in the United States.

The Monterey Hills is major problem area for police as mail boxes are at the curb. “This makes it easy for mail thieves to steal mail,” noted Lee. “The thief doesn’t have to exit the car. They just drive next to the mailbox and take the mail, then drive to the next house. The  majority of the mailboxes are not locked so the thief just opens the lid.”

SPPD offers some tips to protect your mail and packages:

-Use a P.O. Box or install a lockable mailbox.

-Don’t leave outgoing mail in your mailbox. Drop off mail at the post office.

-Report acts of vandalism or mail theft.

-Don’t leave mail overnight in your mailbox. Remove it soon after it arrives.

-Conduct transactions online.

-Regularly monitor your accounts online.