Postal carriers across the nation are “outraged” due to a 78% surge in robberies, often at gunpoint, according to the Associated Press. The letter carriers are demanding that the United States Postal Service take action to protect its employees from armed crooks.
Data provided to the AP by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service via the Freedom of Information Act revealed that in 2022, robberies of postal carriers spiked by 78% to almost 500.
In nearly all of the 496 robberies committed last year, the assailant used a weapon, and 31 postal workers were injured. The data showed that robberies have more than quadrupled over the past decade.
Aundre Cross, a Milwaukee letter carrier, was fatally shot last year. A postal carrier in Peabody, Massachusetts, was robbed at gunpoint while attempting to complete his route, according to law enforcement. In Lowell, Massachusetts, a letter carrier was attacked with a machete.
Paul Barner, the executive vice president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, stated that the union is “outraged and angered” over the robbery crisis impacting letter carriers.
“The National Association of Letter Carriers is outraged and angered by the assaults, armed robberies and even murders that America’s letter carriers increasingly face as they deliver the mail. These attacks are completely unacceptable,” Barner said.
“While we will continue to engage with the Postal Service and relevant law enforcement agencies to develop measures that will enhance the safety of letter carriers, the fear and the danger that letter carriers are confronting has to end,” he added.
Michael Martel, a U.S. Postal Inspection Service spokesperson, told the AP, “Every postal employee deserves to work in safety and to be free from targeting by criminals seeking to access the public’s mail.”
Martel explained that individuals found guilty of mail theft face up to five years in prison, while those who possess, conceal, or dispose of property could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. In addition, a first-time assault carries a 10-year maximum sentence and a subsequent offense up to 25 years.
USPS stated that it plans to announce additional safety measures to address the robbery crisis, according to spokesperson Dave Partenheimer.
He noted that USPS is partnering with law enforcement agencies to ensure criminals are apprehended and brought to justice. The mail company is also working to create more advanced collection box key and lock technology to deter thieves.
“We will continue to adapt to evolving security threats and implement expanded measures to safeguard our employees and preserve the security of the mail that our customers expect and deserve,” Partenheimer said.
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