TOPEKA (KSNT) – Sending and receiving mail can be a hassle for some, but dealing with thieves on top of that can ruin your day.

According to Judy Wilson with the Safe Streets Coalition, opportunistic thieves are targeting mailboxes and front porches across Topeka. She spoke with 27 News about the issue she says has afflicted homeowners “all over town” in recent weeks.

“People are following the mail trucks and taking the mail,” Wilson said. “They see an opportunity.”

Lt. Manuel Munoz with the Topeka Police Department provided a snapshot of areas currently seeing increased reports of mail theft. As seen below, the spots targeted for this type of crime are mostly in west and southwest Topeka.

Heat map of mail thefts in Topeka. (Photo Courtesy/Topeka Police Department)

Wilson says thieves are looking for easy money in the form of checks. They can change the original written payout for a larger amount. Wilson recommends homeowners avoid putting checks in the mailbox with the flag up because it’s an open invitation for potential thieves. Packages aren’t safe from being swiped either, according to Wilson.

“If you’re not going to be home and you know packages are coming, ask a neighbor to pick that package up,” Wilson said.

Wilson recommends people who use the U.S. Postal Service should sign up for their Informed Delivery service to help manage mail and package deliveries. To learn more about this program, click here. Additionally, you can reach out to Wilson at 785-266-4606 or jwilson@parstopeka.org if you want to report mail theft.