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Tips from USPIS: Protecting Against Summer Package Thefts

Written by Jen Burke

Summer is in full swing. The days are longer, offering everyone more time to enjoy their community, the outdoors, and spending time with neighbors. 

However, the warmer weather also brings porch pirates who snatch packages off of neighbors’ doorsteps, especially when no one is home.

Neighbors in more than 145,000 neighborhoods across the United States are turning to Nextdoor to warn each other about package thefts, ask each other for help picking up a package when it’s delivered, and even sharing surveillance footage to help catch a thief in the act.

This summer, Nextdoor is piloting a way for the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) in Denver, Baltimore, and Los Angeles to provide neighbors with helpful tips on keeping mail and packages safe this summer.

We’ve teamed up with Donna Harris, Acting Social Media Manager for USPIS, to provide tips for neighbors this summer season to help keep their valuable packages safe.

Consider taking control of your mail delivery. Through myusps.com you can manage package delivery, track the status of deliveries, schedule a more convenient time for USPS to deliver your package, and see all the packages en route to your home before they arrive – all online.

Don’t leave your mail or parcels unattended – especially overnight. Just like you wouldn’t leave your wallet or purse on the front seat of your unlocked car in the driveway, you shouldn’t leave your mail or parcels unprotected for any length of time. Arrange for someone to be home to receive your package, or log on to Nextdoor to private message a close neighbor to ask if they can pick up your package and hold it for you until you’re home.

Consider an alternate shipping address. If you have a stay-at-home neighbor, reach out to them on Nextdoor to enlist their help as an alternate delivery address. Some employers will allow you to ship small amounts of personal items to your work location as well.

It’s 3 p.m. — do you know where your package is? You could! The USPS provides real-time tracking for a wide-range of products, enabling you to monitor your package’s status from tender to delivery. Registered users of USPS.com can receive status updates via text alerts delivered to their mobile devices. Or download the Informed Delivery app.  Informed Delivery provides users with new visibility into their mail and packages, wherever they are, 24×7.  Sign up today for InformedDelivery.com.

Change of plans? Change your package’s delivery address, even while it’s in transit! If you’ll be away when your package is being delivered, try USPS Package Intercept®. Prior to delivery, you can redirect most domestic package shipments to the sender, a new address, or the Post Office to be held for pickup. You can also customize your delivery by providing personalized instructions on InformedDelivery.com to establish your package delivery preferences.

Keep thieves at bay while you’re away. Hold your mail at your Post Office. If you’re comfortable, notify a neighbor that you’ll be out of town and ask for help keeping an eye out for your packages to be picked up promptly. If you’re going away for a few days and don’t want to risk leaving your package unattended, take advantage of the Postal Service’s Request Hold Mail service. Your letters and packages will be held securely at your local Post Office until you’re back in town. 

Secure your shipment. The Postal Service’s Signature Services help ensure your package ends up in the right hands, by requiring a signature at time of delivery. This service is available with Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail.

Remember, if you ever notice an unfamiliar vehicle following behind the USPS truck or unknown persons hovering around neighborhood mailboxes; report the activity to your local police department and Postal Inspectors immediately by calling 1-877-876-2455 (say “theft”). The package you save may be your own!

Special thanks to USPIS for these tips and wishing neighbors everywhere a very happy – and package theft-free – summer!


Join your neighborhood on Nextdoor here.

Do you have a story about how you’ve used Nextdoor in your neighborhood? Let us know.

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