The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is warning Long Beach residents about a spike in mail theft, particularly around the holidays.
The rise in mail theft, which is a federal crime, has been linked to organized crime, said Stacia Crane, spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. She said it is a tactic commonly used by people, like drug users, looking to get a quick buck.
She said there was a spike in mail theft toward the end of the summer in Long Beach, and, because of the holidays, authorities are noticing more spikes in Long Beach, Studio City, Toluca Lake and Hollywood.
“It’s a crime of opportunity,” Crane said. “Drug users are looking to turn something over really quick. This is something they would do to sell items they’re stealing for drugs.”
She said those who are stealing mail move from city to city, so they’re not caught by authorities once an upward trend in mail theft is noticed.
Crane said there are easy ways people can prevent themselves from being victims of mail theft.
Instead of having mail delivered at home during work hours, customers can get a post office box or have mail delivered to their places of work. They can also call the USPS to see if alternate arrangements can be made from mail drop-offs.
Crane also said customers need to be weary about sending out checks.
“People don’t realize that if you write a check to someone, they now have your routing number and bank information,” she said. “Be careful on how you do your checks. Don’t leave them in an unlocked mail box. Give them to the post man. Don’t leave checks on the front seat of your car. We just need our customers to be cautious, and also report crime if they see it so we can alert the public.”
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