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USPS, Inspection Service continue to combat postal crime and protect employees

Arrests for the robbery of letter carriers are up 73% this year

A row of postal vehicles and blue boxes
Since May 2023, the Inspection Service has made more than 1,200 arrests for letter carrier robberies and mail theft nationwide.

USPS and the Postal Inspection Service provided an update last week on their Project Safe Delivery campaign to protect postal employees and secure the nation’s mail and packages.

“We have been unrelenting in our pursuit of criminals who target postal employees and the U.S. Mail. The efforts of our postal inspectors and law enforcement partners have yielded positive results. We are not done,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

The initiative was launched in May 2023 in response to increased threats and attacks on letter carriers and mail theft incidents across the country. Inspection Service personnel have since conducted more than 5,500 mail theft and violent crime prevention activities.

“Ensuring the well-being of our letter carriers and all postal employees remains of the utmost importance. We will continue to make major investments to secure the postal network while directing the full weight of our law enforcement resources to protecting our employees and the mail,” DeJoy said.

The postmaster general also called for increased prosecution and strong sentences for those who commit postal crimes, including letter carrier robberies, mail theft and associated financial crimes.

“Individuals who attack postal employees should be vigorously prosecuted and, if convicted, should receive penalties from the courts that reflect the seriousness of their crimes. The courts must take postal crimes seriously, and the criminals who perpetrate them must be held fully accountable under the law,” DeJoy said.

Under Project Safe Delivery, USPS and the Inspection Service have:

• Increased arrests associated with letter carrier robberies. Since the current fiscal year began in October, the Postal Inspection Service has made 73 percent more arrests for letter carrier robberies than it did in the same period in the prior fiscal year. This increase is the result of the efforts made by the Inspection Service and federal and local law enforcement to aggressively pursue those who rob letter carriers and steal mail.

“Our nation’s letter carriers deserve to go to work without fear of harm from a robbery or attack. Letter carriers are hardworking federal civil servants who deliver an essential service to communities across America. An attack on a letter carrier, or any postal employee, is also an attack on the very community they serve,” DeJoy said.

Since May 2023, the Inspection Service has made more 1,200 arrests for letter carrier robberies and mail theft nationwide.

During the past five months, letter carrier robberies have decreased by 19 percent and mail theft complaints are down 34 percent.

• Conducted law enforcement surges in Chicago, San Francisco and Ohio. Additional surges are planned for 2024. Each operation involves the Justice Department, USPS Office of Inspector General, other federal agencies and local law enforcement.

Postal inspectors conducted more than 950 investigative actions, including more than 20 arrests and other court-authorized law enforcement activities, and more than 400 prevention activities, including presentations to postal employees on employee safety and mail theft prevention.

“These operations have advanced our investigations, secured postal assets and raised awareness among postal employees about steps they can take to protect their safety,” said Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale.

• Installed high-security blue collection boxes and electronic locks nationwide. Since May 2023, USPS has installed 15,000 hardened blue boxes in areas with high postal crimes, with another 8,500 ordered.

The organization has also installed 28,000 electronic locking mechanisms in mail receptacles, replacing arrow keys and modified arrow lock keys.

“The results of physical security investments and enforcement efforts demonstrate our continued progress with the Project Safe Delivery initiative,” Barksdale said.

The Postal Service’s March 12 news release has more information, including steps customers can take to help prevent mail crimes.