If you've been carting along outgoing mail to drop off in one of those bulky, Smurf-colored public mailboxes sprinkled around town while running errands, the Postal Service says you should pay closer attention to when you do it. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the law enforcement arm of the post office, is stressing the importance of putting outgoing mail into those receptacles "before the final pick up of the same day deposit." Mail thieves target the public collection boxes after the final pick up on Sundays and holidays, Postal Inspectors say.
So how do you determine the safest time to mail those holiday cards? On the outside of each mailbox is posted a daily schedule of pickup times, so you can be sure you haven't missed that day's collection. If you're uneasy putting your mail in the public mailbox no matter the time or day, Postal Inspectors suggest handing it to a mail carrier, if possible.
The reminder comes just as mail theft and check fraud are surging. From armed robberies targeting postal carriers to thieves stealing universal keys that unlock collection boxes, incidents have been reported throughout the country. Still, Postal Inspectors say, the federal mail system is one "safest and most trusted ways" to send packages and mail.