Suspicious Packages

PackagesThere has been an increasing amount of concern about the use of the mail to deliver potentially dangerous substances. Government and law enforcement officials have urged the public to use common sense in assessing the suspicious nature of packages. Keep in mind that the targeting of UWO locations for this type of threat is extremely remote.


What may be a Suspicious Letter or Parcel?

A combination of the following may constitute a suspicious mail item:
  • Suspicious items may have protruding wires, aluminum foil, oil, or grease stains on the wrapping and can emit a peculiar odour.
  • Letters may feel rigid or appear uneven or lopsided
  • Parcels may have an irregular shape with soft spots or bulges.
  • Parcels may have a buzzing or ticking noise or a sloshing sound.
  • Parcels or letters may have a powdery substance observed on the exterior of item.
  • Cancellation or postmark may indicate a different location than the return address or that the item was mailed from a foreign country.
  • Excessive amounts of postage using low denominations.
  • Excessive binding, taping and tying material
  • No return address or the return address may be fictitious, from a foreign country and/or even indecipherable.
  • Suspicious items may display distorted handwriting or the name and address may be prepared with home-made labels or cut-and-paste lettering.
  • Unprofessionally wrapped with several combinations of tape used to secure the package and may have special endorsements: "Fragile - Handle with Care", "Rush - Do Not Delay" or "Special Delivery".
  • Suspicious items may be addressed to specific individuals and could bear restricted endorsements such as "PERSONAL", "PRIVATE", "TO BE OPENED ONLY BY", etc.
  • Addressee's name/title may be inaccurate.

What should I do if I've received a suspicious parcel in the mail?

  • Remain calm. Notify your supervisor.
  • Do not try to open the parcel, as they are usually designed to withstand handling while in the mail, and to activate when opened or when an item is removed.
  • Avoid sniffing the package or tasting any substance associated with it.
  • Isolate the parcel/letter and leave the area. Close the door.
  • Secure the area to prevent others from entering.
  • Wash hands immediately with soap and water to prevent the spread of contamination.
  • Evacuate the immediate area.
  • Call Western Special Constable Service at 519-661-3300 or 9-1-1 and report that you've received a parcel in the mail that is suspicious.

If smoke, visible fumes, or strange odours are emitting from the package, or if people are exhibiting signs of illness, including difficulty breathing, or fumes are strong, ACTIVATE THE FIRE ALARM, EVACUATE THE BUILDING AND CALL WESTERN SPECIAL CONSTABLE SERVICE AT 911.