Mail theft and robberies have become increasingly common in recent years, with almost 500 postal carriers robbed last year alone. To address this issue, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is ramping up security measures. They are replacing 49,000 antiquated “arrow locks” with electronic versions and installing 12,000 hardened blue collection boxes in high-risk areas. The USPS is also implementing dual authentication for identity verification and cracking down on counterfeit postage. These measures come after the National Association of Letter Carriers expressed outrage over the rise in mail theft and robberies.
To prevent criminals from intercepting mail and using change-of-address protocols for identity theft, the Postal Service began implementing dual authentication for identity verification online for changes of address. The service will also start enhanced in-person change-of-address transactions by the end of this month. They are no longer accepting third-party change-of-address submissions and are cracking down on counterfeit postage. In the last fiscal year, postal officials seized over 340,000 packages with counterfeit postage and over 7.7 million counterfeit stamps, preventing an estimated $7.8 million in postal revenue loss.
The Postal Service is taking these measures to ensure that mail carriers are safe and that the public’s mail is secure. Postal officials have reported that there were nearly 500 postal carrier robberies last year, with most involving the use of weapons. Criminals often target the mail to commit financial crimes, such as check fraud. However, mail theft carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, and possession, concealment, or disposal of stolen property carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said that the carriers who deliver 162.1 million pieces of first-class mail each day should be able to work “in safety and to be free from targeting by criminals seeking to access the public’s mail.” With these new measures, the USPS hopes to ensure that mail carriers are safe and that the public’s mail is secure.