USPS and the Postal Inspection Service provided an update this week on their Project Safe Delivery campaign to crack down on postal crimes and attacks on postal employees.
Multiple USPS departments are working on the campaign, which was announced in May.
“As our nation continues to address a sustained crime wave, our targeted focus to crack down on postal crime is progressing,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. “The safety of our letter carriers — and all postal employees — is our top priority. We will continue to work steadfastly with our law enforcement partners to increase the safety of our employees and protect the sanctity of the nation’s mail.”
“We have effectively focused our efforts with USPS on hardening both physical and digital targets to combat threats to postal employees and secure the mail,” said Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale. “We continue to turn up the pressure and put potential perpetrators on notice: If you attack postal employees, steal the mail or commit other postal crimes, postal inspectors will bring you to justice.”
Under Project Safe Delivery, USPS and the Inspection Service have:
• Completed law enforcement surges in Chicago, San Francisco and Ohio. Each operation used wide-ranging partnerships, including with the Justice Department, USPS Office of Inspector General, other federal agencies and local law enforcement.
Postal inspectors conducted more than 700 investigative actions, including arrests and other court-authorized law enforcement activities, and more than 375 prevention activities, including presentations to postal employees on employee safety and mail theft prevention.
The Inspection Service also made 109 arrests for robberies and more than 530 arrests for mail theft. The organization will continue to collaborate with local, state and federal law enforcement and conduct targeted surge operations focusing on high postal crime areas.
• Installed more than 10,000 high-security blue collection boxes nationwide. The boxes, which make it more difficult for criminals to access their contents, have been installed in high-security risk areas.
USPS will continue to evaluate replacing additional existing blue collection boxes with these enhanced boxes and anticipates installing several thousand more boxes soon.
• Begun replacing antiquated arrow locks with 49,000 electronic locks. To make arrow keys and modified arrow lock keys less valuable for criminals who use them to steal mail from secure receptables and commit financial crimes, USPS has replaced more than 6,500 antiquated arrow locks with electronic locks in select cities.
In coming months, the organization plans to deploy an additional 42,500 electronic locks nationwide. USPS and the Inspection Service are also increasing arrow key accountability reviews in select areas with high postal crime rates.
• Reduced fraudulent change-of-address submissions by 99.3 percent. Across the globe, identity theft is on the rise, driven by a financial motive.
To combat the rise in fraudulent submissions, USPS has strengthened authentication processes for all methods of change-of-address submissions, electronic and hard copy submitted in person or through the mail stream.
• Reduced counterfeit package postage by 50 percent. USPS has developed a sophisticated system to identify, intercept and retain counterfeit or hijacked labels on packages, using artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analysis.
To help strengthen Project Safe Delivery, the Inspection Service has also significantly increased monetary rewards for information leading to the arrest or conviction of a perpetrator of postal crime.
Relevant criminal behavior includes homicide, assault, mail fraud, mail theft, counterfeiting and forgery, and destroying, obstructing or limiting the passage of mail.
The Postal Service’s Oct. 25 news release has more information, including a list of the available monetary rewards and steps customers can take to help prevent mail crimes.