Mail theft in Langley City has more than doubled according to the latest crime stats, with police reporting a 167 per cent hike in incidents compared to last year.
This month, the Langley City crime prevention task group issued a public warning to residents about the increase, asking victims of mail theft to notify their strata association, Canada Post and the RCMP at the non-emergency line, 604-532-3200 or online.
“This information is used to determine crime hot spots and increase enforcement in the area,” the notice said.
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Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Largy said the hike appears to be due to spikes in mail theft during the past spring.
“It is suspected this had something to do with the distribution of Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) cheques that were starting to be mailed out around that time,” Largy elaborated.
“Condo buildings, community mailboxes, porches and individual mailboxes were all targeted during that wave.”
Those cheques may have also been a factor in the biggest month-to-month increase in calls for service to RCMP in the Township of Langley this year compared to last year, an 11.6 per cent hike in April.
It has cooled down since then, Largy added, with no more than 20 thefts of mail in total in the city between March 29 and November 7th.”
RCMP advise residents should avoid having packages arrive at their home when they aren’t be there to receive them, make sure banks are aware as soon as they’ve had a change of address, shredding old documents instead of just recycling them, contacting senders if an expected piece of mail never arrives, and never allowing strangers follow you into your apartment lobby or parkade.
“It’s important to clean out your mail every day,” Largy said.
Dave Selvage, Langley City manager of community safety, noted that just a few active mail thieves can cause a spike in the numbers.
“We know it only takes a few,” Selvage observed.
In 2015, a Langley woman who was linked to 10,000 pieces of stolen mail recovered from an apartment complex was given a conditional sentence.
Sarah Lea-Anne Arnet, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of identity theft.
She was charged after a resident of a Langley apartment complex called police when they found about 4,000 pieces of stolen mail in their storage locker.
When officers executed a search warrant on Arnet’s apartment, they found about 6,000 pieces of mail – organized in numerous boxes and file folders.