Video: Public Safety Meeting on Mail Theft & Prevention
Mail theft has been an ongoing issue in Playa Vista. In fact, Postal inspectors are swamped with investigations into all kinds of mail theft from all around the country, from basic crimes like pilfering a few mailboxes, to very organized identity thefts that can include the manufacturing of postal uniforms and even the theft of mail trucks.
Of course, there are all types of opportunists out there — everything from scam artists to drug users, looking for anything of value that can translate into fast cash or a quick fix. In many ways these can be the most dangerous, because the perpetrators typically don’t have a pattern. They just grab any opportunity that they stumble upon. There are also smaller criminal gangs becoming better organized, often studying mail routes and pickup and drop-off schedules to determine the best and safest time to hit many mailboxes at once.
The Mar Vista Community Council Committee on Public Safety recently held a special meeting on the topic of mail theft on August 25, 2016. I attended the event to have our concerns heard and bring back pertinent information to my neighbors. Here is a quick summary:
- Repair or replace faulty locks
- Replace mail boxes with mail slots
- Consider adding high-definition video cameras like a Ring Doorbell
- Require signatures for all deliveries
- Watch for your neighbor’s packages
- Never leave packages out overnight
If opportunities exist, thieves will capitalize upon them. USPS is working on a redesign of the blue mail bins and hanging mailbox lock (master) technology in hopes of reduction of mail thefts.
Report all incidences of mail theft to the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) AND the LAPD. The important part here is reporting to the LAPD as well. Currently, you cannot file a police report remotely or online so a visit to the police station is required.
Why is a report to the LAPD important?
- Accurate statistics for all crime in the area
- Mail theft is a federal offense
- It will assist in prosecution since possession of mail addressed to others is not grounds for an arrest (they could have been dumpster diving) but possession of *stolen* mail is a postal offense. The mail must be reported stolen for LAPD to prosecute so a report is imperative.
The official stats are just part of the story. In a meeting with community groups, Senior Lead officers estimated that as much as half of crimes go unreported. And while that might make the figures look good, it hampers officers in the battle against crime which increasingly relies on accurate statistics of where crime is occurring to allocate resources for prevention and enforcement. Even if the police response to your call doesn’t lead to immediate results, the information over time may help prevent future crimes in the area. Please remember to REPORT!
The video below has 30 minutes worth of highlights from the 8/25/16 meeting.