Out of town? Stop your mail
Betty Patterson, Lacey's Spring Postmaster
It's summer time! School's out! Vacation time is here! Kid's are out looking for fun! The United States Postal Service wants to help you enjoy your summer with a few "postal pointers."
As you prepare for your vacation and check off your list of to-do's, don't forget your mail. An unattended mailbox can be an invitation to burglars, a sign you are not home, flashing like a neon sign: "Come on in and help yourself!" At the very least, arrange for a trusty neighbor to get your mail out of the mailbox and hold it for you while you are out of town.
Or if you wish, if your vacation is 30 days or less, your letter carrier will be happy to hold your mail for you until you return. Stop by your local Post Office or ask your letter carrier for a "Vacation Hold Form." Fill it out and turn it in at any post office or drop it in an out-going mailbox. Just give us two or three days notice. You can also submit your request or ask to restart your mail delivery through www.usps.com (search for "Vacation Hold") or by calling 1-800-275-8777 (1-800-ASK-USPS).
All of your mail will be held until your return, and delivery will resume on the day you indicate on the form. If you normally get a lot of mail, you may want to stop by the post office when you return from vacation to pick up your mail.
If you plan a longer vacation (good for you!), or your destination allows for mail delivery, you may want to consider a temporary forward. Many retirees use this method to stay in touch when they head south for the winter, or plan extended stays with family across the country,
Children love to get the mail almost as much as we adults do. The area around the mailbox is a working area for postal carriers. They are busy making sure the mail matches the delivery address, looking for possible packages, etc. If children are allowed to approach the "working area" it could become the scene of a serious accident. If your children are allowed to retrieve the mail, we would like to ask you to instruct your children to allow the mail carrier to leave the mailbox area before they approach the box.
Some older children have a different approach to the mailbox. It seems mailbox bashing is a summer sport for teens who have nothing constructive to do with their time.
They should be made aware of the seriousness of this crime. Mailboxes are protected by federal law. It is a crime to vandalize them (and to injure, deface, or destroy any mail deposited in them). Therefore the act of mailbox vandalism should be reported to the Postal Inspection Service. Mailbox owners can help prevent the vandalism or destruction of their mailboxes by obtaining Postal Service Label 33, "Warning: Penalty for Damage to Mailboxes and Theft of Mail," from the Inspection Service. The label can be affixed to a mailbox and warns of the penalties for willful damage to mailboxes and theft of mail. In addition, the Postal Inspection Service advises a customer who discovers someone tampering with a personal or neighbor's mailbox to obtain a description of the tamperer and his or her vehicle, including license plate number, to immediately report the information to the local police department and the Inspection Service.
At a minimum, the Inspection Service responds to any complaint of mailbox vandalism by sending Label 33 and a letter explaining its investigative approach to the problem.
Enjoy your summer. Your friends at the Postal Service will be here to help out where we can.
If you have questions or subjects you would like to know more about, please contact your local office,or our web site at www.usps.com or you may contact me at Postmaster, Lacey's Spring 35754-9998.