21 Dec HOLIDAY ALERT: Watch Your Mail & Packages
COMMUNITY MEETING on TUE 12/22 @ 7pm
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This year, Santa Claus is not the only one making the rounds throughout Downtown Los Angeles. Like many neighborhoods are reporting throughout the city, thieves are snatching packages and stealing mail in the Arts District using keys stolen from United States Postal Service (USPS) workers or others to gain access into multi-unit buildings and open otherwise-locked panel mailboxes.
Keep safe and protect your identity and your finances by keeping an eye on your mail! Join us for a long-overdue Arts District community meeting on Tuesday, December 22 @ 7pm at Arts District Co-Op (453 Colyton St., one block west of Urth Caffe). A USPS Postal Inspector, along with Arts District BID Director Miguel Vargas, will be on hand to address recent criminal activity, including what to do to avoid mail theft and what to do if you have already been a victim.
Mail theft is a Federal crime investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, a Federal law enforcement agency. Rewards are payable for information leading to the arrest and conviction of violators. If you are aware of fraudulent activity against your credit card or checking accounts or similar actions involving the theft of your mail, report it immediately to your local postmaster or a USPS Postal Inspector. File a mail theft report by calling toll free at (877) 876-2455 or visit their website.
TIPS TO AVOID EXPOSURE TO MAIL THIEVES
- DO NOT leave mail in your mailbox overnight. Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery, especially if you are expecting checks, credit cards, or other negotiable items. If you won’t be home when the items are expected, have an employee or ask a trusted friend to pick up your mail.
- Use the letter slots at your post office to mail letters, or personally hand them to a letter carrier.
- Deposit your mail into blue USPS collection boxes during the day before the last pick-up time that appears on the posted schedule.
- Use your bank’s “Direct Deposit” for regular incoming checks. Ask your bank to wire checks directly into your accounts.
- Promptly report non-receipt of credit cards, checks, and other valuable mail to the senders and to the Postal Inspectors.
- Be alert for suspicious people or vehicles in your area. If you see suspicious activity, call 911 and the Postal Inspectors immediately while suspects are still in the area.
- Use neighborhood watches and community programs to deter vandals.
- Do not send cash in the mail.
- Ask your bank for “secure” checks that cannot be altered.
- If you will be away from home for more than three days, ask your local post office to hold your mail until you return. You can initiate a “Mail Hold” at the post office or online through the USPS website.
OTHER MAIL CRIME PREVENTION TIPS
- Relocate your building’s external mailbox to a higher visibility area (requires USPS approval).
- Relocate mail receptacles to the inside of a building or locker enclosure.
- Purchase mail receptacles with a higher level of security.
- Install a security cage around the mailboxes (e.g., wrought iron, fencing).
- Request increased police patrols.
- If your building has the capacity to do so, ask staff or security on duty pick up mail and place it in a safe place (e.g., office).
If you see suspicious activities or find evidence of crimes near or around your building or in the neighborhood, document what is seen or found (i.e., descriptions or suspects or vehicles, license plate number, misplaced mail, etc.) and call the Arts District BID Security at (213) 228-8484, ext. 210. The Arts District BID is helping out by keeping a master list of incident reports for use by the LAPD and the USPS.