Congress Introduces New Laws In Response To Rise In Mail Carrier Robberies

( — The president of the National Letter Carriers Association, Brian Renfroe, believes that the rise in crime against postal workers in recent years may be rooted in the stimulus checks sent out during the pandemic.

Mail carriers are targeted for the packages, checks, and personal data they carry that may be used in identity theft, as well as for the postal keys they carry which can be used to access the big blue postal boxes. Crime against postal workers has increased nearly 30%, with 643 postal carriers being robbed last year alone. There were also 61 attacks that resulted in injuries to the postal workers.

Thieves have been sharing information on the “arrow keys” carried by the postal workers, and about how they can be used to access mailboxes. They’ve also been educating other would-be postal bandits on the ways that they can launder the payroll checks they steal to get access to the money. U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker commented that the robberies may also represent a real threat to democracy, as mail-in ballots are travelling around the country during this election season.

Last year, the U.S. Postal Service launched Project Safe Delivery to help protect the mail and the postal workers. The project included a resolution to replace 49,000 antiquated arrow locks with electronic locks which would be more secure, and to install 12,000 High Security Blue Collection Boxes nationwide whose contents would be more difficult for criminals to access. However, these measures do not go far enough, as crime against postal workers has continued to run high.

There will be legislation introduced in Congress this week to accelerate the replacement of the less secure mailbox keys with electronic versions that are not as convenient to criminals, but also to boost prosecutions and review sentencing guidelines for crimes involving the U.S. Mail and postal workers.

A San Francisco judge sentenced a man who held a gun to a postal carrier’s head while he and an accomplice robbed the mail truck to only 30 days imprisonment just last month, which has led many postal workers to feel vulnerable and abandoned. Federal laws regarding mail theft sentencing allow for up to 5 years in prison, while assault on a postal worker can carry a sentence of up to 10 years.

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