Metro Vancouver residents are urged to pick up mail as soon as possible following a rash of thefts across the region.

Cpl. Bert Paquet said there’s always a spike in mail thefts during the holidays, when Canada Post delivers more than a million packages per day.

“Thieves know this is a lot of money. Gifts are exchanged through mail and they take that opportunity to target those specific crimes,” Paquet said.

Community mailboxes, which are set to become more common as Canada Post cuts door-to-door delivery services, are a particular draw. There were almost 5,000 incidents involving community mailboxes this year alone in B.C., making the province the mail theft capital of Canada.

Critics blame the boxes’ design, arguing they’re too easily pried open with a simple crowbar, though Canada Post has provided sturdier boxes in some communities.

“We are always upgrading our community mailboxes as we go along,” agency spokesman Phil Legault said.

To prevent mail theft at your home or community mailbox, Mounties recommend:

  • Putting your mail on hold or having someone retrieve it daily if you’re going on vacation.
  • Retrieving mail as soon as possible after delivery and never leaving it unattended overnight.
  • Checking the security of your mailbox to ensure there are no gaps or damage.

Anyone who receives mail that doesn’t belong to them is also asked not to leave it in an unprotected area. Instead, they can write “delivered to wrong address” on it and deposit it into a Canada Post mailbox.

Tips and information on mail thefts can be given to Surrey RCMP by calling 604-599-0502 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Damaged mailboxes can also be reported to Canada Post at 1-800-267-1177.

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Jon Woodward