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USPS Issues New Alert on 5 Things You Must Do as Mail Theft Surges

The agency has provided an update on crimes against mail carriers, and how customers can help.

Your mail may be in danger. In May 2o23, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) acknowledged that mail theft was rising across the U.S. The agency revealed that during the 2022 fiscal year, 412 carriers were robbed on the job, and 38,500 incidents of mail being stolen out of mailboxes were reported. By the first half of the next fiscal year, 305 carriers had been robbed and 25,000 mailbox-related theft incidents had taken place.

The problem has not gone away, according to a March 12 press release from the Postal Service. In this new alert, the USPS provided an update on Project Safe Delivery, the nationwide campaign the agency began with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) last May to "combat postal crime and protect postal employees."

While mail theft is still surging, the USPS said that this initiative has already helped numbers go down. Over the last five months, reported robberies of letter carriers have decreased by 19 percent and mail theft complaints have fallen by 34 percent, according to the agency.

This may be the result of a more aggressive push to pursue criminals through Project Safe Delivery. So far in fiscal year 2024, the USPIS has made 73 percent more arrests for letter carrier robberies compared to the same time period last year.

"We have been unrelenting in our pursuit of criminals who target postal employees and the U.S. Mail. The efforts of our postal inspectors and law enforcement partners have yielded positive results," Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said in a statement accompanying the press release.

As part of Project Safe Delivery, the USPS has also been working to deploy tens of thousands of hardened blue collection boxes in all 50 states, "making access to their contents more difficult for criminals," according to the agency.

But DeJoy warned in his statement that the work is "not done." While the USPS plans to continue making major investments with the USPIS to combat these crimes, the agency is encouraging the public to step up as well. Read on for the five things you must do to protect your mail, according to the USPS.

RELATED: 6 Major Changes Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Has Made to the USPS.

Don't leave anything in your mailbox.

A man delivering or receiving mail in a mailbox

Your personal mail receptacles should always stay empty overnight. In other words, "don't let incoming or outgoing mail sit in your mailbox," according to the USPS.

"You can significantly reduce the chance of being victimized by simply removing your mail from your mailbox every day," the agency explains.

RELATED: USPS Postal Inspector Reveals How to Mail Checks to Avoid Theft.

Send mail in a secure way.

USPS Post office location in L'Enfant plaza

You should also be cautious when it comes to how you're sending mail. While many mail carriers will take any outgoing mail from your mailbox as they're making deliveries, that's not the safest method amid high rates of mail theft.

Instead, the USPS encourages customers to "deposit outgoing mail at secure locations, including inside your local post office or at your place of business." If you still want to send your mail out from your home, the agency advises you to "hand it directly to a letter carrier."

Enroll in Informed Delivery.

Website of The United States Postal Service, USPS; also known as the Post Office, U.S. Mail, or Postal Service.

To help you keep track of what you should expect to see in your mailbox, the USPS says customers should sign up for its Informed Delivery service. Through this, you will "get daily digest emails that preview your mail and packages scheduled to arrive soon," the agency explains.

RELATED: USPS Issued a New Warning About Mailing Cash.

Connect with your community.

Neighborhood watch sign in a sunny Midwest suburb.

Mail thieves often target entire communities, which is why the Postal Service suggests connecting with the other people in your area to help keep things safe.

"Become involved and engaged in your neighborhood via neighborhood watches and local social media groups to spread awareness and share information," the agency recommends.

Pay attention to your postal carriers.

Mail Carrier Delivering Mail on Napoleon Avenue

Criminals will also often go after postal workers themselves to try to get access to master keys that open multiple mailboxes. With that in mind, the USPS is asking customers to "keep an eye out" for their local mail carriers.

"If you see something that looks suspicious, or you see someone following your carrier, call 911," the agency advises.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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