By Shereen Siewert

Police are recommending residents sign up for informed delivery service after another round of mail theft was reported over the weekend.

The Wausau Police Department posted the recommendation on Facebook.

“Unfortunately the past holiday weekend saw some more mail thefts in our community,” the post reads. “Often times, this is people looking for holiday cards with some cash and/or gift cards inside. Obviously if you can, don’t leave mail sitting for a long period of time and if possible hold your mail until you return from any travel.”

Informed delivery, where available, allows residents to digitally preview mail with greyscale images of the exterior, address side of letter-sized mail pieces. Images of larger envelopes and packages, however, are not available. Learn more about the service here.

The U.S. Postal Service has been under fire for months for delivery slowdowns and service issues. But the nation’s mail system is also plagued by a lack of reliable tracking system for mail theft.

Postal Inspection Service data obtained by NBC revealed that mail theft reports surged by more than 600 percent over the past three years, from about 25,000 in 2017 to roughly 177,000 through Aug. 24 of this year.

Some ways to prevent mail theft:

  • Don’t leave delivered mail and packages unattended. You wouldn’t leave your wallet on the front seat of an unlocked car overnight, would you?
  • Have the post office hold your mail if you are going out of town. Letters and packages will be held securely until you return.
  • Ship using the “hold for pickup” option. Recipients then collect their packages at their local post office. If you are expecting a package, you can redirect the package to be held at the post office by selecting “intercept a package” under the “track and manage” option at usps.com.
  • Customize delivery. If you know a package won’t fit in your mailbox, you can authorize the carrier to leave the package in a specified location using delivery instructions in the tracking tool at usps.com.
  • Secure the shipment using USPS Special Services. Signature Confirmation helps ensure the package ends up in the right hands by requiring a signature at the time of delivery. For the most valuable packages, you can opt for Registered Mail service. Registered Mail receives special handling from the time it’s mailed until the time it’s delivered, with documentation every step of the way.

A home security camera system can be configured to capture activity at the front door and mailbox. If you catch any mail thieves in the act, save the video and alert your local postal inspectors. Video surveillance goes a long way in preventing crimes and catching thieves.