USPS Crackdown on Crime Leads to 600 Arrests

And those mail theft, carrier robbery busts are just since May
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2023 12:34 PM CDT
Criminals Really Want Mail Carriers' Coveted Mailbox Keys
A motorist drops off mail at a mailbox outside a US Postal Service location on Aug. 17, 2020, in Denver.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Mail carriers don't have to just worry about ornery dogs and slippery sidewalks: They've also got criminals to contend with, and more than you may think. The US Postal Service announced that over the past six months alone, more than 600 arrests have been made tied to mail theft and carrier robberies, part of a crackdown that the USPS hopes will tamp down on crime in the industry, reports the AP. According to the US Postal Inspection Service, there have been 109 arrests for robberies and more than 530 arrests for stolen mail since May, per a release. This comes after 500-plus mail carriers were robbed in 2022.

Chicago, San Francisco, and cities in Ohio are especially "facing significant threats from organized postal crime." "Postal carriers have to keep their head on a swivel," says Rick Byrne, head of the Colorado State Association of Letter Carriers, per the AP. "They have to ... be extra vigilant with their surroundings." One area in particular that the USPS is targeting: mail carriers' universal "arrow" keys, which can open multiple Postal Service mailboxes. The USPS is currently in the process of replacing nearly 50,000 locks accessible by those keys with electronic locks.

The USPS has also installed nationwide more than 10,000 high-security mailboxes, which feature metal teeth in the mail slot, per NBC Washington. "As our nation continues to address a sustained crime wave, our targeted focus to crack down on postal crime is more critical than ever," Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale said Wednesday, reports the Federal News Network. He added, per the AP: "We will continue to turn up the pressure and put potential perpetrators on notice: If you're attacking postal employees, if you steal the mail or commit other postal crimes, postal inspectors will bring you to justice." (More US Postal Service stories.)

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