More concerns than snow, rain, or the darkness of night prevent postal couriers from making their scheduled rounds. From Maine to California, they are increasingly being robbed at gunpoint.
Increasing 78% to nearly 500 in 2022, mail carrier robberies have skyrocketed, according to data from the U.S. the Freedom of Information Act to The Associated Press from the Postal Inspection Service.
Letter carriers are requesting that the US take action—mail delivery.
The attacks, armed robberies, and even killings that letter carriers in America are increasingly experiencing as they deliver the mail infuriate and upset the National Association of Letter Carriers.
The executive vice president of the union, Paul Barner, warned that these assaults were inappropriate.
The robberies, which are hurting letter carriers responsible for delivering roughly 162.1 million pieces of first-class mail each day, are being addressed by the Postal Service, which stated it is adapting and putting additional precautions in place.
According to Michael Martel, a representative for the inspection service, “Every postal employee deserves to work in safety and to be free from being targeted by criminals looking to access the public’s mail.”
The findings show that robberies have more than quadrupled over the past ten years.
Thirty-one mail carriers were hurt in 496 robberies, most involving weapons last year. Three people were taken into custody after one, Milwaukee mail carrier Aundre Cross, was fatally shot.
Many of these criminals are developing into more organized and sophisticated groups.
The unique keys that mail carriers use to open collection boxes and deliver mail in residential complexes are being targeted by some.
A January incident to the north of Boston was typical. A 20-year-old guy pointed a semi-automatic weapon at a letter carrier in Peabody as he went about his route and yelled, “Give me your keys” and “Hurry up or I’ll shoot you,” according to law enforcement officials.
The attacker ran away but was eventually apprehended.
In Lowell, Massachusetts, a mailman suffered a machete wound in March. Additionally, police found and detained the attacker.
According to USPS spokesperson Dave Partenheimer, the Postal Service leadership is getting ready to reveal additional steps it will take to resolve the issue.
The service is already working to improve collection box key and lock technology, implement dual authentication to make keys less desirable targets for thieves, and “harden” blue collection boxes to prevent tampering, according to Partenheimer.
At the same time, the service is continuing to work closely with other law enforcement agencies to apprehend the criminals.
The USPS is briefing congressional committees on its responses to mail crime, Partenheimer stated on Monday.
According to Martel, possession, concealment, or disposal of property entails a punishment of up to 10 years in jail, and theft of mail has a penalty of up to five years.
For a first conviction of assault, the maximum sentence is ten years, and for a second offense, it’s 25 years.
To protect our staff and maintain the mail security that our customers demand and deserve, we will continue to adapt to changing security risks and deploy extended procedures, added Partenheimer.
Barner, though, asserted that letter carriers “demand solutions now.”
According to Barner, the anxiety and danger that letter carriers face must end, “and we will continue to engage with the Postal Service and pertinent law enforcement agencies to develop measures that will enhance the safety of letter carriers.”