U.S. Postal Service touts crackdown on postal crime with hundreds of arrests

Since May, over 600 arrests have been made in a crackdown by U.S. Postal Service officials on increasing postal crime, including theft and postal carrier robberies.

The challenge: Rising crime rates involve both stealing mail and targeting carriers’ “arrow keys” for access to mailboxes.
* Last year, nearly 500 postal workers were robbed. Criminals are increasingly targeting the mail service to commit financial frauds like altering checks to obtain money.

Steps taken: In response to these crimes, the Postal Service has implemented changes to secure the mail and protect employees.
* To discourage robberies, postal authorities are replacing thousands of universal keys typically used by carriers with electronic locks. So far, 6,500 electronic locks have replaced keys in select cities, and another 42,500 are set to be deployed.
* Over 10,000 high-security blue boxes were installed in high-risk locations to deter people from breaking in.
* The Postal Service has also managed to reduce fraudulent change-of-address transactions by 99.3% over the past fiscal year, and cut counterfeit postage by 50%.

Legal consequences: For crimes interfering with postal service, penalties can be heavy.
* Theft alone can result in up to five years in prison. Dealing with stolen postal property can lead to a sentence of up to 10 years. Assaulting a mail carrier can lead to a 10-year sentence for a first-time offense, and repeat offenders can face 25 years for an assault.

What they’re saying: Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale warned potential perpetrators that attacking postal employees or stealing the mail will be met with justice.

View original article on NPR

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