USPS and the Postal Inspection Service have announced expanded actions to protect employees and the security of the nation’s mail and packages as threats and attacks on letter carriers and mail fraud incidents escalate amid a national rise in crime.
In fiscal year 2022 (Oct. 1, 2021-Sept. 30, 2022), 412 letter carriers were robbed while on the job, and 305 such incidents were reported in the first half of the current fiscal year.
Additionally, USPS has reported an increase in high-volume mail theft incidents from mail receptacles, including blue collection boxes: There were 38,500 such incidents in fiscal year 2022, and more than 25,000 in the first half of the current fiscal year.
The organization will continue to work with its unions and management associations on training and employee education for letter carriers and other postal workers.
USPS and the Postal Inspection Service are also expanding their Project Safe Delivery crime prevention initiative to protect employees and facilities, prevent mail and package theft, and enforce the law against individuals who perpetrate crimes against employees and mail and package security.
The expanded actions include:
• Reducing letter carrier robberies and mail theft. USPS will install 12,000 high-security blue collection boxes to make it more difficult for criminals to access their contents. The organization will continue to evaluate replacing additional existing blue collection boxes with these enhanced boxes.
Additionally, USPS will use 49,000 electronic locks to replace antiquated arrow and modified arrow lock keys, which criminals use to steal mail from secure mail receptacles to commit financial crimes, including altering checks to commit fraud.
• Preventing change-of-address fraud. In April, USPS implemented dual-authentication identity verification for online transactions and, effective May 31, the organization will offer enhanced in-person change-of-address transactions at Post Offices and retail outlets.
• Defeating counterfeit postage. USPS will fully exercise new authority to take possession and dispose of packages identified with counterfeit postage.
Other actions include reviews of shipments on USPS docks and during warehouse outreach visits, efforts to shut down websites and close e-commerce accounts that sell counterfeit postage, and promotion of an Inspection Service program that provides rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people who unlawfully use, reuse or forge postage.
“As crime rises, so do the threats against our public servants,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. “The men and women of the Postal Service are walking our nation’s streets every day to fulfill our mission of delivering mail and packages to the American people. Every postal employee deserves to work in safety and to be free from targeting by criminals seeking to access the public’s mail.”
“We’re doubling down on our efforts to protect our postal employees and the security of the mail. We are hardening targets — both physical and digital — to make them less desirable to thieves and working with our law enforcement partners to bring perpetrators to justice,” said Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale.
Throughout the year, the Inspection Service will continue to partner with other federal, state and local authorities to enforce the laws and bring criminals to justice.
USPS and the Inspection Service will continue to adapt to evolving security threats and implement expanded measures to safeguard employees and preserve the security of the mail that customers expect and deserve.
The May 12 news release has more information, including steps customers can take to protect their mail and carriers.
The websites for the Postal Inspection Service and the Office of Inspector General also have information.