USPS Is Installing New "Safe" Mailboxes Amid Rising Mail Theft
The agency is rolling out Smart Lockers at post offices across the U.S.
Many of us bank on the safety and security of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). So when our online orders don't show up or our mail goes missing, it's certainly a stressful situation. But now, the USPS is making new moves to provide more protection for customers amid rising mail theft. Read on to discover more about the new "safe" mailboxes the agency is installing across the U.S.
Mail theft has been on the rise recently.
Over the past few years, many people have shared stories about their mail being stolen. But it's not just anecdotal reports: Data indicates that mail theft has in fact gotten worse recently. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPSIS) told CBS MoneyWatch that it had received roughly 300,000 complaints about stolen mail in 2021, which was more than double what had been reported a year prior.
Then, this past May, the USPS also confirmed that there had been an "increase in high volume mail theft incidents." According to the agency, there were over 38,5000 reports of mail theft in the 2022 fiscal year—and in just the first half of the 2023 fiscal year, there have already been more than 25,000 reports.
The USPS is now rolling out new "safe" mailboxes.
The Postal Service may have a new solution to rising mail theft problems. In an Oct. 5 Postal Bulletin, the agency announced the introduction of new USPS Smart Lockers. These mailboxes "have been designed to improve the overall package experience by providing a safe, secure, and convenient alternative delivery location for customers," according to the agency.
As the USPS explains on its website, Smart Lockers are electronic keyless parcel lockers that customers can use to receive packages and pick up redeliveries, as well as ship and return items back to merchants. If you are having something shipped from a Postal Service-approved eCommerce website, you can choose to have it delivered to a Smart Locker near you if one is available.
"When the package is placed in the locker, you will receive an email containing the pickup (QR) code, the address of the Post Office where the package is located and simple instructions," the agency states. "When you go to the USPS Smart Locker location, follow those instructions to enter the code to retrieve the package from the designated locker. Once you've entered the access code, the touchscreen will display the locker number your item is in and open the door automatically. Once the package is picked up, you will receive another notification that the package was retrieved."
The agency says Smart Lockers will reduce package thefts.
The USPS said that its new Smart Lockers will serve as an alternative delivery option for customers amid "growing concerns related to package theft," and they expect that it will have a significant impact on this issue. "The initiative will reduce package thefts in areas where no service is available for secure delivery," the agency states on its website.
According to the Postal Service, these Smart Lockers will help address "evolving customers needs and preferences" for package delivery in three ways: enhanced security, expanded self-service for package recipients, and added visibility.
"The Postal Service is committed to continuing to provide the best package experience for our customers, and we are excited to bring them new self-service options with Smart Locker," Gary Reblin, USPS vice president of innovative business technology, said in a statement. "On top of increased package safety, security, and convenience for our customers, the impact of Smart Lockers will be seen in shorter retail window lines and more time spent on meaningful customer interactions."
They have already been installed in certain post offices.
The Postal Service said its "state-of-the-art USPS Smart Lockers" are already being installed in select Post Office lobbies across the U.S. According to the agency, these new mailboxes are currently active in 67 locations throughout 19 different states: Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
The USPS is also planning to expand Smart Lockers to 10 additional metro markets by the summer of 2024. You can check to see if you have an available location near you through the Postal Service's Smart Locker tracker. "Smart Lockers are being rolled out across the country in the coming months," the agency confirms on its tracker website.
- Source: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2023/0512-usps-postal-inspection-service-roll-out-expanded-measures-to-crack-down-on-mail-theft.htm
- Source: https://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2023/pb22634/pb22634.pdf
- Source: https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Smart-Locker
- Source: https://www.uspssmartpackagelockers.com/locker-location