The Mail Carrier: An Underutilized Neighborhood Watcher

The Mail Carrier: An Underutilized Neighborhood Watcher
Posted on 06/16/2015

Thieves are using numerous and inventive tactics to get at your mail. No one knows this more than our devoted mail carriers, like Rick Pixler, a diligent and observant letter carrier for over 25 years.

“I have seen both the good and the bad when it comes to delivering mail. You might be surprised to know just how much mail and how many packages are stolen on a daily basis,” says Rick.

Rick explained that the thieves’ number one goal is to relieve you of almost anything of value.

The most prominent method used by mail thieves is to watch out for raised flags on your mailbox. It’s something that alerts thieves that you have outgoing mail, and to them it probably means mail with lots of goodies inside. He says the thieves move from one flagged mailbox to the next, usually leaving your unwanted mail in the next box on their way. Since they don't want to get caught with any more mail then they have to, once they take cash/checks/credit cards, they leave the useless items behind. Rick mentioned the most critical times that thieves are most active is the typical holiday periods where parents and grandparents send cash and gift cards through the mail. There are always reasons to stay alert; Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s and Father’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Rick says, “Post your flag half way. If you get mail on a daily basis, you don't need to worry about the flag at all. You will get your mail and you can leave mail, and we will pick it up. If you don't get it on a daily basis, the half staff approach tells the carrier you have outgoing mail, but it is not enough of a motivator to have someone risk stopping.”

Rick further explained, “The newest approach to package theft is for someone to drive around, spot a package, and knock on your door. If you’re home, they might ask you a stupid question and move on. What they hope, is that you don't answer your door and they can reach down, pick up your package and move on, with you none the wiser. My concerns are that the thieves are getting smarter and smarter; they don't really care what is in the package, they just want it.”

Many have changed their mailbox to a locking one. This still does not solve the problem with leaving mail out, so consider all your options. Contrary to what many may think, Rick believes most mail carriers think that they are a part of your neighborhood and in short, part of your very family. Rick says, “I, for one, take great pride in being able to help out where ever I can. We see more than most. We watch for people following us. We watch if your mail hasn't been picked up for several days. We watch out for your children. We look for things that look out of place. Your mail carrier can and should be one of your best friends. If you don't know your mail carrier, make it a point of stepping out next time you see them and say "hello." Let us know how we can help you and ask how you can help us.”

Rick truly cares.

“The more I know, the better I can serve each and every one of you. These are just some of the ways we help you. Some of the ways you can help us is to make sure your mailbox, whether on the street or on the house, that it is free from hazards, obstructions and anything that you think would slow us down. Remember, if you can't get to your mailbox safely and efficiently, neither can we. Thanks for allowing me to personally serve you and your family,” he said.