Spring is just around the corner, and most of us are looking forward to spending more time outdoors. But this also is a time of year when we typically begin to see an increase in the number of thefts from mailboxes, porches and vehicles. Thieves capitalize on the nice weather, and they often pick springtime to venture out and target unsuspecting victims. We can’t prevent all thefts, but there are some things we can do to protect ourselves from becoming victims.
Mailbox theft usually involves the thief stealing letters in the hope of finding cash or checks. Often, victims don’t even know their mail was stolen until days later. One way to decrease the delay in detection is to sign up for Informed Delivery through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) at www.usps.com. When you sign up for this free service, you will receive daily emails that provide a preview of the mail and packages scheduled to arrive, show images of incoming letter-size mail and enable you to track and manage your packages in one convenient place. If you know when things are scheduled for delivery, you will know whether something is missing or stolen. The faster you can detect an item has been stolen, the faster you can stop payment on a check, notify the sender and file a police report. Time is always of the essence and definitely will help our detectives with their investigation.
Another easy way to help prevent mail theft is to place checks in the blue USPS mail collection boxes instead of residential mailboxes. While the red flag on your mailbox notifies the postal worker that there is outgoing mail, it also lets seasoned thieves know there might be something worth stealing.
Additionally, if you are going out of town, you should schedule a hold for your mail. It’s easy to schedule online, and once you return from your vacation, the USPS will deliver all of your mail. This prevents a buildup in your mailbox and makes it less likely that a thief will notice the house is empty and is a potential target for burglary.
Since we’re on the topic of burglary, it’s also a good time to mention that if you get a large, expensive item, like a TV, please break down the box and try to place it inside your trash can. When thieves see these boxes on the street, they know there is something valuable in the home to steal.
When the weather’s nice, thieves also like to walk through neighborhoods and residential areas, flipping automobile door handles. When they find an unlocked door, they will rummage through the car and steal anything of value. Thieves are opportunistic, and unlocked vehicle doors make an easy target. Occasionally, thieves will break into locked vehicles, typically when something valuable is in plain sight. Avoid becoming a victim by locking your car doors and keeping all valuables out of sight.
We have some beautiful weather and a lot of great city events to look forward to this spring in our incredibly safe community. If we all work together, there are lots of simple ways we can enjoy spending more time outdoors while also preventing thieves from being successful in their endeavors. Stay safe, Acworth!
– Chief Jesse Evans has served more than 20 years as a prosecutor and law enforcement professional. He is a native of Acworth and knows there is no better place to live, work and play.
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