Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, December 16 2013 at 6:29 PM, Updated: Mon, December 16 2013 at 7:08 PM
Going to the post office this week? You might want to prepare yourself for some long lines.
This is gearing up to be the busiest week for the U.S. Postal Service. It's expected Wednesday, December 18th will be the busiest delivery day for cards and letters. Thursday December 19th is expected to be the busiest delivery day for packages.
Mail carriers have been swamped with packages and with all the holiday mayhem, as packages arrive, there are threats to watch out for...particularly thieves who could turn out to be the Grinch in the flesh.
"This is crunch time, this is when the packages will be delivered on the door steps and we really want to make sure they're not there long enough for somebody to steal them," said Lt. Mike Budreau with the Medford Police Department.
Lt. Budreau said it'll pay to be on high alert since this year has been particularly bad for mail theft.
"Thieves are targeting mail, targeting packages being delivered. They've shown that all throughout the year."
Keeping Packages Out of Thieves' Hands
The best way to keep your packages safe is to track them online, take a break from work to pick them up, or ask a trusted neighbor to pick them up for you.
"Another option is to have them delivered to your work during work hours," said Budreau.
USPS Mail Carriers Swamped with Packages
Paul Rodriguez, who has been a mail carrier for more than 20 years is familiar with the mail theft problem.
"It's been rampant and it's unfortunate," he said.
He said this season there have been more packages to drop off.
"It's been crazy.Cyber Monday is actually coming in right now and the number of packages coming into our post office is probably, last estimate I heard is 13% higher than last year," said Rodriguez.
With all those extra packages and the holiday season already here, carriers are just trying to get packages to the right door steps so the right people can pick them up.
Rodriguez hopes people will be more aware of the packages that are scheduled to arrive.
"Lately a lot of people are getting email notifications when a package is coming. It's [also] good to notify a neighbor if you anticipate a package being left at your door," he said.
Rodriguez said if you would like your package dropped off with a neighbor who is home, you can leave a note for your carrier.
As for the number of packages getting delivered this year, it's no surprise that there are more of them. It could be a result of record online shopping post-Thanksgiving.
Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.
Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.
Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.
Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.