'Protecting yourself and your property': Ways to avoid holiday mail theft

The U.S. Postal Service suggests using signature only delivery, tracking the mail, or having mail held by a person you trust this time of year. Thieves are on the lookout for unattended packages or mailboxes. (SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. - Holiday mail thieves are on the hunt for cash and gifts being shipped this time of year. But Eugene Police officers say there are ways to avoid becoming their next victim.

“It's not really a subject that we want to think about, or that we like to think about. But it really is going to go a long way to protecting yourself and your property," said the Eugene Police Crime Prevention Unit Supervisor, Debbie Janecek.

Eugene Police said everyone should have a plan in place for receiving both mail and packages.

“Well I didn't think about that," said Eugene resident Conrad Grosenick.

"Actually, I hadn't, so now I'm a little worried," added Springfield resident Debi Douglass.

So what do you do when the gift is out of your hands - on the door steps or in the mail box?

Springfield resident, Michael Dardano said his neighborhood prepares for mail thieves.

"Well they are in our neighborhood because we have kind of a neighborhood watch,” Dardano said.

The U.S. Postal Service suggests using the signature only delivery, tracking the mail, or having mail held by a person you trust.

United States Postal inspector Adam Sale said, “The longer it sits out there, the more opportunity somebody driving by has to see it, and they could grab it right off your porch, and you'd never know about it."

The Eugene Police Crime Prevention Unit suggests sending mail through the U.S. Postal Service mail boxes. That way USPS can investigate theft crimes across county jurisdictions.

Sale said, “One of our strengths is we can put in little pieces of information together from little cases and ultimately solve all of them.”

The Eugene Mail Box Center owner Darren Andreason said he's seen an influx in mail box rentals.

"More people are interested in renting a mail box to receive a parcel so that it can remain secure," Darren said.

Less than 10 USPS inspectors cover Oregon and Southwest Washington. They suggest contacting police first if your mail is stolen. To contact the USPS investigators, call 1-877-876-2455

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