In Indianapolis, mail carriers have been out on their delivery routes since before sunrise. Many of them are making double the number of deliveries as an average day.
“I’ll drop off this load I have, deliver mail, and I’ll come back and take out more packages today,” said USPS Carrier Mariam Bluiett. “Normally I wouldn’t have to make two trips.”
By now, Bluiett has heard plenty of stories about packages being targeted by thieves after being left on doorsteps. These days, part of the job of a mail carrier is to be on the lookout for suspicious activity. Bluiett says she’s not only looking out for her own safety, but she’s serving as an extra set of eyes and ears for police and protecting her customers.
“If you see someone strange walking up the neighborhood that you don’t recognize, you know,” Bluiett said. “If you’ve been in this neighborhood delivering mail for a few years, you pretty much know your customers, you know?.”
Last week, Lebanon Police shared information about reports of suspicious vehicles following UPS and FedEx delivery trucks, presumably to snatch up packages left at homes.
Bluiett says she is constantly keeping watch for vehicles that seem to follow her through neighborhoods. And she has a handy tool to report anything that doesn’t look right.
Mail carriers across the nation are now carrying new mobile hand-held electronic devices (MDD) that not only track packages, but also transmit their GPS coordinates back to their local offices in real time. The devices can be used to communicate with the home office. Or, in an emergency, they can serve as a sort of “panic button,” allowing the carrier to call police.
Bluiett says the MDD is a great way to keep herself and fellow postal employees safe. They can also prove useful in reporting suspicious activity in neighborhoods along her delivery route.
“If you feel like you’re in danger, or if you have a situation where you need to get in touch with somebody, this is equipped for us to do that,” Bluiett said.
You can also protect your deliveries against theft by using the U.S. Postal Service’s website. When you register at myusps.com, you can track and adjust the delivery time of a package being sent to your home. If you don’t think you’ll be home at 3:00pm when the package is expected to arrive, you can change the delivery time to a later hour when you expect to be home.