United States Postal Service rolling out new feature

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The United States Postal Service is rolling out a new service that will allow you see your mail before it is delivered. The question is will it help stem the tide of mail thefts that have plagued Bakersfield for the past several years?

Informed delivery from the Postal Service is already up and running in select cities across America, and it's coming soon to Kern County.

On March 10, the U.S. Postal Service chose several major metropolitan areas to test out its informed delivery. Customers who sign up get emailed images of the mail they will be receiving later in the day. Notifications are typically sent before 9 a.m. eastern standard time, and you get one for each piece of mail. Plus, this feature is completely free.

"Because of our automation in our processing plant, we are able to take pictures of the front side of the mail piece," USPS Spokesperson Meiko Patton said. "We are able to provide digital notifications to users in advance of physical delivery of the mail."

However, the postal service is only providing images of letter-sized mail for now. Larger, flat envelopes and packages are not part of the program yet. Still, one customer sees a benefit for signing up.

"I personally haven't had anything stolen or my mail box broken into, but there's a lot of things on the neighborhood watch about mailboxes being broken into and mail missing so i think this will be a wonderful service," USPS customer Jan Webster said.

 Mail theft has been a growing problem in Bakersfield, causing some concerned citizens to hold a recent rally. But the Postal Service insists this new program is not designed to combat mail theft. Still, it can count on at least one person signing up fast in Bakersfield.

"I think it's a great idea," Webster said. "I think it's another reason to use the post office service which i think is very valuable."

No date has been set for the feature to specifically begin in Kern County, but the Postal Service says it is scheduled to be available nationwide by April 14. For information on how to sign up, visit our website and click on the hot link icon.

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